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WPXN Blog Archives for 2021-06

The state's credit rating is being upgraded for the first time in more than 20 years

(Iroquois County-jm) -- One person is dead following an accident in Iroquois County. The accident happened on Route 116 at the Ford/Iroquois County line near Ashkum. A jeep and semi collided and the driver of the jeep, a 20 year old woman from Ashkum, died at the scene. Her name was not released.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s credit rating is being upgraded for the first time in more than 20 years. Governor J-B Pritzker says passing three balanced budgets in a row, paying off old bills and keeping up with pension payments helped Moody’s Investors Service bump up Illinois’ rating…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. A higher bond rating generally means the state can borrow money at a lower interest rate, which the Governor says ultimately saves the taxpayers money.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report analyzing unfunded public pension liabilities ranks Illinois near the bottom. The annual publication, called “Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2020” by the American Legislative Exchange Council, looks at each state’s unfunded public pension liabilities. American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Illinois 49th in terms of the total liability and also per capita amount at $31,980 per person.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is extending the expiration date for Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards to January 1st. Illinoisans now have an additional five months to get their licenses and ID’s renewed, so there’s no need to rush into driver’s services facilities, says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt reminds that a number of services are available online at: cyber drive illinois dot com such as renewing your license plate sticker.


 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul factory is expanding production. Mayor Chuck Smith says Rantoul Foods is looking to increase their production…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- Six girls will be competing for the title of Miss Iroquois County Fair. Those competing are Leah Lemenager of Clifton, Cassie Peters of Crescent City, Emma Morts of Milford, Hailey Lucht of Milford, Erin Anderson of Rankin and Kaitlyn Bell of Crescent City. The Queen pageant takes place July 13th.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County community of Gilman is reminding residents with golf carts about regulations. Golf carts must be registered and underage people are not allowed to drive. City leaders say Iroquois County Sheriff’s officers have been given the authority to issue tickets to violators.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- China's purchases of our nation?s ag goods remain strong under the Phase One Trade Agreement however what might this mean regarding long-term sales? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Daycare will be more affordable for low to moderate income families under changes announced by Governor J-B Pritzker. 80 percent of families in the state’s child care assistance program will pay less in daycare costs and those at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line will pay just one dollar a month. The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Secretary Grace Hou (Ho) says providers will get more state support as well…

 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou. The additional benefits begin tomorrow.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The red-hot Illinois real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Illinois Realtors, statewide home sales in May totaled 17,675, an increase of 51.8% from May 2020. The statewide median price in May was $262,000, up 21.8% from May 2020. But with the pandemic housing boom and low mortgage rates, signs of weakness can jump out, including a slowdown in buying if prices continue to rise in some places.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- College athletes will soon be able to sign endorsement deals under a new state law signed by Governor J-B Pritzker Tuesday. Universities and the N-C-Double-A make plenty of money off of college sports, and so should the students who have their name, image and likeness used in promotions and merchandise, says Representative Kam Buckner of Chicago. He says this will increase opportunities for all college athletes…

 

 

State Representative Kam Buckner of Chicago. This new law takes effect July 1st.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating a residential burglary at a home in the 900 block of Jack Street around 4:10 am on June 24th. Residents told police that they heard somebody inside their home and confronted them, and a foot chase ensued. The residents eventually lost sight of the burglar, who was described as a 40-year-old white male, about 6 feet tall, with a dark tan and brown curly hair and wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and a baseball cap. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton Police at 379-4315.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Wheat harvesting is underway in parts of the state. While its not a huge commodity in the area, some farmers do plant winter wheat. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says they haven’t started harvest yet…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- In updating our story from yesterday, Rantoul firefighters continue to investigate a house fire in the village Monday afternoon. Firefighters received the call around 3pm in the 900 block of Eastview Drive. When they arrived they saw smoke coming from the house and a fire on a bed in a bedroom. The fire remains under investigation.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Apex Clean Energy, developer of the proposed Ford Ridge Wind Farm near Sibley, has awarded grants to three local nonprofits: the Community Resource & Counseling Center in Paxton, Paxton-Buckley-Loda Education Foundation and Sibley Area Fourth of July Committee. The grants were from the Ford Ridge Wind Community Grant Program.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A newly released USDA study finds that participants to its SNAP nutrition program currently face barriers to healthy foods. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

The National Weather Service confirmed at least three tornadoes touched down in the area over the weekend

(Springfield-jm) -- Businesses with 100 or more employees will be required to provide the Illinois Department of Labor with details about its workers and their pay beginning in 2022. The law was an initiative of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and was originally passed as part of the Equity Pillar legislation in January 2021. The move comes following Governor JB Pritzker’s signature of Senate Bill 1847.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Three people were hurt following a shooting in Rantoul last night. Police were called to South Pointe Drive near Marco Drive around 8 pm. Police say the three suffered non life threatening injuries. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Crews were called to an explosion on the University of Illinois campus last night. Emergency personnel were called to the Hendrick House at the corner of Lincoln and Green Street. No injuries were reported. Officials believe it was a boiler that caused the explosion.

 

 

(Penfield-jm) -- The I and I Historic Farm Days will be returning this year to the grounds in Penfield. I and I Club President Chuck Stelter has the dates for this year’s show…

 

 

I and I Historic Farm Days President Chuck Stelter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Looking at local COVID numbers, Ford County reported 2 new cases. Champaign County 12 new cases. Iroquois County 15 new cases and 1 additional death. 

 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Condition ratings for the country's two main crops are down, but appear to be stabilizing. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is now reporting 85 teens and adult staff at a summer youth camp held in mid-June in central Illinois tested positive for COVID-19.  One unvaccinated, young adult was hospitalized. IDPH says the outbreaks occurred in Schuyler and Adams counties.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- One area state representative says there was some good news in the recent unemployment numbers. However, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett says it’s not all good news…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The National Weather Service confirmed at least three tornadoes touched down in the area over the weekend. The strongest was an EF-1 with winds estimated near 95 mph that hit Danforth. An EF-0 with winds of 85 mph was confirmed in Chatsworth. The weather service also confirmed a tornado between Mahomet and Dewey.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Leaders in Paxton are hoping for more development in the city. Chamber President Alan Meyer says they have already seen some growth during the pandemic…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A local organization, Back the Blue of Champaign County, will be having a Back the Badge Fest on Aug 14 from noon until 10pm at the Farmer City Raceway. Taking the stage will be Mitch Rossell with special guest Alexis Wilkins. Other bands performing will be 3 Gun Whiskey, the Thomas Tillman Band and Matt Poss Band. Tickets are available at TICKETLEAP.com

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- We'll have a much better idea of this year's potential corn and soybean production very soon when USDA releases a key report. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J.B. Pritzker Friday extended his COVID-19 executive orders

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker Friday extended his COVID-19 executive orders and emergency declarations that were set to expire Saturday. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Pritzker has now issued 16 months of consecutive 30-day disaster proclamations. Friday's disaster declaration and the reissued executive orders are set to expire on July 24, 2021. That includes a moratorium on residential evictions.  

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- The Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Club will hold their tractor drive coming up this Saturday. Spokesperson Russ Tjarks talks about this year’s route…

 

 

Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Club Spokesperson Russ Tjarks.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Strong storms came through the WPXN listening area this weekend. A confirmed tornado was reported in Danforth in Iroquois County and a tornado was reported between Mahomet and Dewey in Champaign County Friday evening. Late Saturday afternoon more severe storms came through with a tornado reported in Chatsworth in Livingston County. Heavy rains were also reported with widespread totals of 2-5 inches. The State Department of Natural Resources closed Clinton Lake due to high water levels.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A building partially collapsed in Downtown Champaign on Saturday. The Old Chester Street Bar suffered a structural collapse. The Champaign Fire Department says its unclear what caused the building to partially collapse.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul has seen a development boom with the creation of the new sports complex. Mayor Chuck Smith talks about the development and the future developments coming to the village…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Metro unemployment rates were down in May. The unemployment rate in May for Champaign County was 4.4 percent down from 10.5 percent in May 2020. In Ford County the rate went from 11.4 percent to 3.8 percent. Vermilion County went from 14.8 percent to 5.8 percent. Iroquois County went from 9.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s budget that begins this week includes taxpayer funds to “jumpstart” segments of the economy held back by Governor J.B. Pritzker’s economic restrictions during the pandemic. But some say other areas didn’t get enough funding. Democrats say the $42 billion state budget that begins July 1 is balanced and doesn’t increase taxes. Republicans say the decreased tax incentives will mean $666 million in tax increases on job creators. The $42 billion spending plan includes hundreds of millions for the hospitality sector and money for the state’s health care sector, housing development and more.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the city’s annual Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration. Chamber President Alan Meyer talks about the day's activities…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is designated as the first Purple Heart University in the state. The Chez Veteran Center helps veteran students feel a sense of community and belonging during their transition from the military to campus life. The center is the largest student veteran center in the country.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign woman has died after a two-vehicle crash on Friday. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 51-year-old Towanda Frazier was pronounced dead. The crash happened at Bradley and Walnut. An autopsy was held over the weekend.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Most people know the old adage knee high by the 4th of July when it comes to crops and how they are doing. So how are the crops doing in the Ford and Iroquois County areas? Farm Bureau David Treece provides an update…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece. 

 

(Kankakee County-jm) -- Two bats in Kankakee have tested positive for rabies. The Kankakee County Public Health Department made the announcement Friday. So far 13 bats in Illinois have tested positive for rabies. 

 

Central Illinois is in line for a very wet and stormy weather pattern featuring multiple rounds of showers and heavy-duty storms

(Springfield-jm) -- Fewer Illinoisans filed for unemployment claims last week than the week before. There were still nearly 24,500 people who filed initial claims, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Last week’s figure was more than 3,600 fewer than had filed the week before. At around 7,500, there were about 3,500 fewer independent contractors filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance last week than the week before.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Central Illinois is in line for a very wet and stormy weather pattern featuring multiple rounds of showers and heavy-duty storms. 2 to as much as 5 inches of rain is possible through the weekend. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect through tomorrow morning. Severe storms are also possible today with damaging winds the primary threat. Doug Quick will have the latest Storm Team Forecast at the end of this newscast.

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- The Gifford Celebration will take place tomorrow. Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg runs down the day's activities…

 

 

Gifford Celebration Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- More than 50 Illinois Police Departments have a police social worker or mental health professional on staff. The Champaign County Sheriff's Department is now on that list as well. The new social worker position is a part of the Justice Diversion Program in Champaign County. The justice diversion program is a division of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, with a goal to help aid community members who may be going through a crisis. The Rantoul Police Department also has a social worker.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has seen an uptick in thefts, specifically catalytic converters. Over the past 6 months, 11 vehicles were targeted and had the catalytic converter removed during the late hours of the night. Damage to these cars costs about $25,300 in repairs.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A new USDA report shows hog producers may be scaling down production plans more than some industry analysts expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Fourth of July, summer's biggest blockbuster holiday, is quickly approaching and that means more people will be hitting all modes of travel, but road trips will continue to dominate this summer, according to AAA. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, the Auto Club predicts more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. An expected 43.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday. In Illinois, 2.5 million residents will be going by car, which is 8% more than the previous record set in 2019.

 

 

(Rankin-jm) -- The 2021 Rankin Lions Club Truck and Tractor pulls will take place this Friday and Saturday. Spokesperson Aaron Bertan talks about the activities both nights…

 

 

Rankin Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Aaron Bertan.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Former Paxton Buckley Loda High School Athletic Director John Overstreet was inducted into the Illinois Athletic Directors Hall of Fame this week. Overstreet was one of four to be inducted this year. Overstreet served as athletic director from 1999 until his retirement in 2017.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will host a pair of COVID vaccine clinics next week. The health department will hold a Moderna vaccine clinic on Wednesday, June 30th from 10 to 3 and a Pfizer vaccine clinic on Thursday, July 1st from 10 to 3. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Wind turbines on farms can generate electricity, but also controversy. Gary Crawford reports...

 

 

Gibson City will host their Friday Night Fun Cruise Night tonight from 6-9 pm with King T’z performing live music downtown.

 

The Gifford Community Celebration will take place tomorrow with a 5k at 7 am, parade at 10 am, food trucks and games from 11-3, car show noon to 4, bags tournament at 6, fireworks at dusk.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Masonic Lodge #416 tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

Rankin will host their 4th of July and truck and tractor pull today at Centennial Park. Activities continue on Saturday with fireworks at dusk

The Illinois Tollway is expanding it's "I-Pass Assist" program to help more people get the transponders

(Springfield-jm) -- Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Illinois’ General Obligation bonds from negative to positive. With this action, Illinois’ GO bond rating moves from BBB- with a negative outlook to BBB- with a positive outlook. Fitch is the third rating agency to upgrade the state’s outlook.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s Rental Payment Program has paid out 70 million dollars to Illinois landlords in just the first month. The Illinois Housing Development Authority received more than 70 thousand applications from landlords, requesting assistance on behalf of their tenants. 70 million has already gone out, and another 17 million has been approved for payment. Hundreds of millions more in assistance is expected in the coming weeks. The Authority’s Rodrigo Carrillo says it’s clear the need is out there…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Rodrigo Carrillo. The program allowing landlords to apply has ended. Tenants may start submitting requests on Monday, June 28th via the website: ihda dot org.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers were back in Springfield last week to tackle a handful of issues. One of the issues brought before lawmakers was an issue with the state budget. During the rush to pass the budget during the middle of the night in the final hours of the spring session, lawmakers failed to notice an error that would make the state budget invalid until 2022. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the issue…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Tax bills for Ford and Iroquois County residents have gone out. The first installment for Ford County residents is due July 2nd with the 2nd installment due September 10th. For Iroquois County residents the first installment is due July 7th with the 2nd installment due September 7th.

 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- St. Joseph has hired a village administrator. Village trustees approved hiring Joseph Hackney. Hackney comes from Valley Falls, Kansas where he currently serves as village administrator. His first official day will be July 26th.

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- The 2021 Gifford Celebration will take place this Saturday. One of the hi-lites of the celebration is the parade. Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg talks about the different awards for the parade…

 

 

Gifford Celebration Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- Three Hoopeston residents have been arrested on warrants from various area counties. Travis Begley was arrested on a Vermilion County warrant. Darren Wood turned himself in on a Ford County warrant. Haley Edwards was arrested on a Vermilion County warrant and a Champaign County warrant.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County is receiving $1.7 million in state funds for bike paths and walking trails. Some of the $1.7 million will go to the Maplewood multi-use path in Rantoul.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What are some examples of U.S. ag exports finding new and expanded markets in China via the Phase One Trade Agreement, and what other products could also benefit from this deal?  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Tollway is expanding it’s “I-Pass Assist” program to help more people get the transponders. Now that the tollway has gone cashless and using an I-Pass saves motorists 50 percent on tolls, Spokesperson Dan Rozek says they’re really working to make it easier for lower income Illinoisans to get an I-Pass. He explains the changes…

 

 

Illinois Tollway Spokesperson Dan Rozek. More information about signing up for the I-Pass Assist Program is available online at: illinois tollway dot com.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The 2021 Paxton Swine n Dine will return in September. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer talks about this year's concert…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The C-U at Home Board of Directors is pleased to announce two important changes to our leadership structure.  First, Rob Dalhaus III will continue in leadership in the new position of Director of Development and Community Outreach. Secondly, a search has begun for an Executive Director to assume broader administrative responsibilities for C-U at Home.

 

 

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

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On June 18th, Charley Marcum was ticketed for driving with a suspended drivers license, improper use of registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle following a traffic stop in downtown Paxton, Diana Lohrbach of Buckley was arrested on a pair of Ford County warrants for failure to appear, no injuries were reported and no tickets issued on the 18th following a two vehicle accident on the offramp from northbound I-57. On June 13th police responded to a two vehicle accident at the Village Pantry. No tickets were issued and no injuries were reported.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County community of Gilman is receiving a $2 million grant to redesign their business district. The grant will focus on Central Street from Route 24 to 3rd Street, Front Street from Central to Main and 2nd from Central to the Canadian National Railroad tracks.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- One part of the government's farm safety net system continues to get high marks from most farmers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning about fake emails and texts seeking personal information

(Vermilion County-jm) --  Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy filed a lawsuit against a utility company over the unlawful disposal of coal ash. Raoul and Lacy filed the suit against Dynegy Midwest Generation, LLC over the unlawful disposal of coal ash at the site of the former Vermilion Power Station, which led to groundwater pollution surrounding the coal power plant. Dynegy owns the property in Oakwood, Illinois, where the coal-fired Vermilion Power Station operated until November 2011.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is offering COVID vaccines every Thursday at the health department in Paxton. Community Educator Megan Reutter talks about the vaccine clinics…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Rantoul man is behind bars in the Ford County Jail after Paxton police arrested him following a traffic stop. Police stopped 30 year old Jon Browder just before 9 pm on Tuesday, June 15th after an officer clocked him driving 105 mph on U-S 45 near Green Street. Officers caught up to him a couple miles south of town where they discovered 9 grams of meth and syringes and pipes containing meth residue. Browder was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and aggravated speeding.

 

 

(Gifford --jc)  --  The 2021 Gifford Community Celebration is coming soon. Joel Cluver has the story…

 

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Five Sibley area residents are dropping their appeal of the building permits for the Ford Ridge Wind Farm. The residents filed the appeal after the counties zoning officer approved the permits. Apex Clean Energy, the developer of the wind farm, hopes to start construction this summer.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Condition ratings for major midwestern crops continue to decline. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning about fake emails and texts seeking personal information. IDOT has been getting reports of messages purporting to be from the agency. Spokesperson Maria Castaneda says its a phishing scam…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda. Castaneda says you should not click on any links in the message which could put malware on your phone or computer.

 

(Danville-jm) -- The Vermilion County Fair gets underway tonight at the fairgrounds in Oakwood. Tonight is the Fair Queen pageant at 6. The fair runs through Sunday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Plans for a new car wash on Paxton’s west side continue. Mayor Bill Ingold says the city will do some utility work in that area…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is offering tips to prevent mosquito bites this summer. The health department recommends using insect repellent with Deet, wear long sleeved shirts and pants when outside during peak mosquito hours, stay inside during peak mosquito hours and remove mosquito habitats including standing water from around your home.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington is announcing Frontier Airlines will be adding nonstop flights to Las Vegas starting in August starting at $49. The flights will be twice a week starting August 12th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- As our nation's agricultural export forecasts reach record numbers, there are possible signs of continued export expansion.  Rod Bain reports…

 

State officials are hopeful the new lottery promotion will prompt more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine

(Springfield-jm) -- Waterfowl hunting blind site drawings are getting back to normal. The schedule is out for the remaining drawings that will be held at several public hunting areas in July and August. It’s something the State Department of Natural Resources has been getting a lot of questions about, says spokesperson Rachel Torbert…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Duck and goose hunters must register in person and be there for the drawing. They also must have a 2020 or 2021 hunting license and migratory waterfowl stamp. More information is available at: dnr dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Local coronavirus deaths rose over the weekend. Vermilion County reported 1 new death, a man in his 60s, bringing their total to 145. Ford County reported 2 additional deaths, a man and woman in their 50s, bringing their total to 48. Champaign County also reported an additional death bringing their total to 155. Iroquois County remains at 64 deaths.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City managed to pass 7 bills during the spring legislative session. Representative Bennett talks about the 7th bill passed…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois will require students to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus in the fall. University President Tim Killean sent out an email Monday making the announcement. Right now it does not include faculty and staff.

 

 

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

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Some fire departments across the state are receiving a portion of $3.3 million in grants from the state fire marshal's office. The Gifford Fire Protection District is receiving $9,350. Danforth Fire Protection District is receiving $22,610. Buckley Fire Protection District is receiving $26,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Wheat harvesting in Illinois continues behind last year’s pace. In the weekly crop report, Statistician Mark Schleusener says there were about six days suitable for fieldwork…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 96 percent of soybeans have been planted and one percent is blooming. 66 percent of soybeans and 64 percent of corn is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as four percent very short, 28 percent short, 64 percent adequate and four percent surplus. 3 percent of the second cutting of alfalfa is now complete.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials are hopeful the new lottery promotion will prompt more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “All in for the Win'' includes cash prizes for adults and college scholarships for teens who have gotten their shots. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike said the reasons for not getting vaccinated vary…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Those who have received at least one dose are automatically entered to win, and entries will be updated as new people get vaccinated. The first drawing will be July 8th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Looking at the latest local COVID numbers. Vermilion County is reporting 5 new cases. Ford County is reporting 2 new cases. Iroquois County 11 new cases and Champaign County 15 new cases.

 

(Crescent City--jc)  The 2021 Iroquois County is coming in mid July. This year’s talent show has 30 participants. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Illinois Soybean Board will hold its annual public meeting on Thursday, July 29 at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. At-large director elections will take place at 11:00 AM CST. The at-large directors will be elected by a majority of soybean farmers in attendance at the public meeting. No write-in provisions exist.

 

 

(Rankin-jm) -- The 2021 Rankin Lions Club Truck and Tractor pulls will take place this Friday and Saturday. Spokesperson Aaron Bertan talks about the activities both nights…

 

 

Rankin Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Aaron Bertan. In addition there will also be fireworks on Friday night.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man is facing multiple charges after he entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and battered her. Ahkeem Thomas is charged with home invasion, aggravated domestic battery, domestic battery and criminal damage to property. Police say Thomas kicked in the door to his ex girlfriend’s home and beat and choked her. Bond was set at $25,000. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Wheat harvesting in Illinois continues behind last year’s pace. 12 percent of winter wheat has been harvested, compared to 38 percent for the five year average. 87 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition which is an improvement over the previous week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener has an update on soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 64 percent of corn is rated in good to excellent condition, a slight decline over the week. The second cutting of alfalfa hay is now three percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture stands at four percent very short, 28 percent short, 64 percent adequate and four percent surplus.

State officials said Illinois' unemployment rate did not fluctuate between April and May

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials said Illinois' unemployment rate did not fluctuate between April and May. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said that in May, the statewide unemployment rate remained at 7.1%, the same rate it was at in March and April.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The University of Illinois Extension Office is offering some summer lawn care tips. Now that the weather is really heating up, it’s time to decide if you want to put the effort and money into watering your yard all summer, says U of I Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel. If that’s the route you want to go…

 

 

U of I Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel. Hentschel points out that keeping a lush lawn will require additional fertilizer and suggests mowing more often at a taller height. The taller grass will shield the roots from the sun a little better so your yard won’t dry out as quickly.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were called to an accident Sunday afternoon on I-57. Crews were called to the accident one mile south of town. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  --  Canadian National Railroad offices say the  railroad crossing on West 8th Street will be closed in Gibson City from today to June 25th. A detour will be provided through the city for those on state routes. 

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- The 2021 Gifford Celebration will take place this Saturday. Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg talks about the return of the annual event…

 

 

Gifford Celebration Spokesperson Logan Hesterburg.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There are several board meetings around the area tonight. In Rantoul at 6, Rantoul Township High School school board members are expected to approve the district's consolidated plan, discuss their reopening plan for the 2021-2022 school year and approve the purchase of a school bus. At 6:15 in Gibson City, GCMS school board members will hear a construction update and discuss the district's ESSA plan. The Mahomet Seymour School Board will hold a budget hearing at 6:30 followed by their monthly meeting at 7 where they are expected to approve the revised budget and consider a bid for the track project. Tri-Point School leaders will hold a budget hearing at 6:45 before their monthly meeting at 7 where they will consider approving their revised budget, consider all day pre-kindergarten for 4 year olds at the Piper City school, and consider a school resource officer contract. Finally the Iroquois West school board will meet at 7 where they will consider middle school girls softball and substitute teachers pay.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- How were estimates for Brazil's soybean crop adjusted compared to other drought impacted crops in that country, and how did it affect USDA's June global supply and demand estimate? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker signed a major election reform bill into law last week. The new changes going into effect immediately expand curbside voting and allow polling places in county jails for those waiting on their trial. It includes uniform cybersecurity standards for election offices and creates a permanent vote by mail registry. The bill also mandates that high schools provide a one-page document of information for students 18 years and over about how to register to vote. The new law also changes the date of next year’s primary election from March 15 to June 28.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Outdoor activities in Illinois surged during the pandemic. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources closed all facilities pretty quickly after the virus first hit. 660 sites opened back up May 1st, with the remaining coming online at the end of May. Chief of Staff Kristin Dicenso says attendance figures showed cooped up Illinoisans were ready to enjoy the outdoors…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chief of Staff Kristin Dicenso. Dicenso says they also saw an increase in camping and expect these trends to continue this year.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man is dead following an early morning shooting Sunday. Police were called to the shooting in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 32 year old David Dalton Jr died at Carle Foundation Hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

 

 

(Rural Gifford-jm) -- A farm shed was destroyed by fire in rural Gifford over the weekend. Crews from Rantoul, Gifford and Ogden-Royal were called to the fully involved 30 by 60 shed around 1pm Saturday. The shed and its contents were lost.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul is growing thanks in part to the new sports complex and subsequent development near the complex. But the growth in Rantoul has led to a shortage of housing, says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A lower production forecast for Brazilian corn by USDA indicates a potential increase in corn exports for our nation. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

Dangerous heat and the threat of severe weather is in the forecast for today

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department on Aging is offering help online to seniors looking into Medicare. The Medicare system can be confusing, so the agency is participating in a virtual “Medicare Fair” on Wednesday, June 23rd from 2-6 pm, says State Health Insurance Assistance Program Director Sandy Leith…

 

 

State Health Insurance Assistance Program Director Sandy Leith. You can sign up for the Medicare fair now through June 21st by visiting the Department on Aging’s website.

 

 

(Rural Roberts-jm) -- One person is dead and two others injured following a single vehicle accident near Roberts. Illinois State Police say a vehicle driven by 24 year old Randy Lopez of Piper City struck a guardrail on Route 115 near 1175 north. Lopez and a passenger, 20 year old Gabriela Shurr of Piper City were taken to the hospital. 19 year old Anayeli Medina of Piper City died at the scene. Lopez was cited for driving on a suspended license, failure to wear a seatbelt and improper lane usage.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Dangerous heat and the threat of severe weather is in the forecast for today. High temperatures are expected to reach the mid to upper 90s with heat index values in low 100’s. The high heat and humidity could also lead to severe thunderstorms. The Storm Prediction Center has most of the WPXN listening area under an enhanced risk of severe weather. You can hear the complete forecast with Doug Quick at the end of this newscast.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Illinois is now in Phase 5 of Governor J-B Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. Megan Reutter with the Ford County Public Health Department says those vaccinated don’t have to wear a mask under most circumstances…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing drivers services facilities will be closed for the Juneteenth holiday today. Following President Joe Biden’s signing to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, Jesse White’s office announced. Facilities open Monday through Friday will be open Monday. Facilities open Tuesday through Saturday will be open Saturday.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Last night at the Ford County Fair it was the kiddie tractor pull and the Illiana Truck and Tractor Pulls. Fair President Kirk Miller talks about what’s happening today…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

An electronics recycling will take place on Saturday from 9 to 1 at the Paxton City Shed on the city’s north side.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the American Legion Riders on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

Rantoul will host their first Juneteenth celebration on Saturday from noon to 6 at Wabash Park.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new COVID-19 vaccination lottery with 10 million dollars in prizes. The lottery is called “All in for the Win” and features cash payouts of 100 thousand to one million dollars for adults and scholarships worth 150 thousand for teens, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Starting in July, there will be state and regional drawings to ensure winners come from all over Illinois. Winners will be notified by the state Department of Public Health.

 

 

(Montezuma, Indiana-jm) -- You might have felt the earth move yesterday afternoon. The USGS reports a 3.8 magnitude earthquake was reported near Montezuma, Indiana just across the border in Parke County. People reported feeling the earthquake as far away as Peoria and Chicago.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Tonight at the Ford County Fair its country group The Eli Young Band with Shenandoah performing at 7:30. Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller wraps up the final day of the fair…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be hosting a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Tuesday from 9 to 3. The second dose for this clinic will take place on July 20th. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The new sports complex in Rantoul is spurring further economic development in the northern Champaign County community. Mayor Chuck Smith talks about some of the latest development news from his village…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. Smith says they are hoping to add more housing in the village as well.

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security warning the public to be on high alert for identity theft scams

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is warning the public to be on high alert for identity theft scams. With federal unemployment programs expiring in September, IDES is seeing more phishing schemes to get people to give up their personal information, says Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. Richards says there’s also reports of bogus social media messages and profiles being created on platforms like facebook. She recommends visiting the agency’s website: ides dot illinois dot gov for more information.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House passed House Bill 562 establishing a structure for law enforcement to remove guns from people whose Firearm Owners Identification cards have been revoked. The measure also expands background checks to all gun purchases, including those made person-to-person; requires records from private gun sales to be tracked for 20 years; creates a database of stolen guns; and establishes funding for community- and school-based mental health programs. State Representative Dan Brady of Normal…

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady of Normal.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton streetscape project is looking to move to the next phase. Mayor Bill Ingold says he is having a meeting later this week to put the project out to bid…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Phase 5 means most of the state is fully reopen. But as Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter explains there are still some restrictions in place…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A Gibson City business is closing after more than a century in business. Lamb Young Funeral Home is closing their doors after 134 years. The funeral home was started in 1887 by W.S. Lamb. Three generations of the Lamb family ran the funeral home until Earl Young purchased the funeral home in 1980. Another generation of the Young family currently runs the funeral home.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- The lumberjack show hi-lited last night’s activities at the Ford County Fair in Melvin. President Kirk Miller talks about what is happening at the fair today…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Ashlyn McPherson of Sibley has been awarded a scholarship by the Bayer Fund. McPherson was the recipient of the America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders. McPherson will continue to study Agronomy & Crop Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch Wednesday changed the House rules to allow members to vote remotely.  The Speaker said the option is not ideal but was necessary as some members couldn't physically be in Springfield Wednesday for various reasons. Many House Republicans voted against the resolution to allow for legislative voting.   State Representative Dan Brady of Normal voted against the resolution saying it will give a definite advantage to the majority party…

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady of Normal.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs’ office is launching a new campaign to hi-lite some of the unique items returned to people through the “I-Cash” program. The effort includes online ads and direct mailing, reminding the public that they may have unclaimed property waiting for them, says Treasurer Frerichs…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs says it’s easy to search the database to see if your family has any long-forgotten money or trinkets. About one in four people are successful. You can get started at: illinois treasurer dot gov slash icash.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House GOP members pushed for greater transparency and public input during a capital press conference Wednesday. One of those speaking out at the press conference was 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…

 

 

104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is reminding parents to schedule their kids back to school vaccines. The health department recommends checking with your kid's doctor if you are unsure what vaccines they may need.

 

(Melvin--jc)  What is the one item to eat at a county fair?  That is a question for those attending this year’s Ford County Fair in Melvin. Jay Beck with Becks Concessions says there are several favorites…

 

 

Becks Concession’s Owner Jay Beck. Becks Concessions has two locations at this year’s Ford County Fair in Melvin. The fair runs through Saturday night. WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today and tomorrow from the Ford County Fair in Melvin.


 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City Police have released their recent activity report. On June 9th, Amy Armstrong of Melvin was arrested for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with no valid drivers license. On June 11th Joe Gherardini of Gibson City was cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Also on June 11th, William Lindsay of Gibson City was arrested on an in state warrant. On June 12th, Keirsten Trhlik of Gibson City was arrested for resisting a peace officer and cited for a city ordinance violation for a vehicle on a sidewalk.

 

The Illinois Senate is voting to correct errors in the state budget

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly’s return to Springfield for two days this week cost the taxpayers more money for legislators' travel expenses. According to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, this is not a special session, so legislators will not get paid extra for these two days, but they will get mileage reimbursement for their travels. For the House, that will be a maximum of $22,255.52, and for the Senate, a maximum of $11,525.36.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Senate is voting to correct errors in the state budget. The budget originally passed the Senate in the early morning hours of June 1st, but there were some mistakes in the legislation, says Senate President Don Harmon…

 

 

Senate President Don Harmon. The House must also agree to the fixes. The states’s new fiscal year begins July 1st.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College will return to in-person instruction for the fall semester and invites students and the community back to campus. Other modes of instruction, such as hybrid, flexible, and fully online, will still be available for those who prefer virtual learning.

 

 

(Bondville-jm) -- A St. Joseph man was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries following a rollover accident in Bondville. Police say the man was traveling south on Barker Road when he went off the road, struck a tree and rolled.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Last night at the Ford County Fair was the Talent Show at 6:30. Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller talks about what is happening today at the fair…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

 

(Peoria-jm) --  OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois has been recognized as a Best Children’s Hospital for 2021-22 by U.S. News & World Report. OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois was recognized among the top three children’s hospitals in Illinois and among the top 25 in the Midwest region which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

 

 

(St Louis--jc)  Six Flags has settled a lawsuit claiming it violated an Illinois law when it collected the fingerprints of those attending the park with season passes.Law360 Illinois reports the amusement park has agreed to pay $36 million to end the class-action lawsuit accusing the company of collecting fingerprint data in violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act

 

 

(Melvin--jc)  Jolee Hastings of rural Loda continues her reign over the Ford County Fair in Melvin this week. Hastings was crowned the 20-21 Ford County Fair Queen on Monday night. Hastings was a guest on our live broadcast at the fair Tuesday over the noon hour. Hastings will be busy looking at projects, animals and other events at this week’s fair and says she remembers her projects at fair time…

 

20-21 Miss Ford County Fair Queen Jolee Hastings

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Capitol is preparing to reopen to the public. Both the Statehouse and Stratton Office Building will open on Monday, June 21. Starting then, those who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to wear masks or socially distance inside. Anyone who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will still be asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Public tours will restart next Monday, and permits will also be issued for gatherings and demonstrations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Negotiations on comprehensive clean energy legislation have stalled in the Illinois General Assembly. The Senate adjourned without passing a bill as planned. One major problem is different timelines for reducing carbon emissions and closing coal plants in downstate Marissa and Springfield have been proposed, says Senator Bill Cunningham…

 

 

State Senator Bill Cunningham. Another issue being debated is the prevailing wage for clean energy jobs.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A man accused of hitting a woman with his car was in court yesterday. Stephen Booker is charged with aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and resisting an officer. Police say Monday Booker ran a woman over, crashed his car, then started beating her up. The prosecuting attorney says Booker was dating the victim. She has a broken pelvis and sprained wrist. They also say Booker had a bag of heroin when police arrested him. Bond was set at $750,000.


 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign police and the family of fallen officer Chris Oberheim are looking for an anonymous donor. The department received a letter and $10. The author of the letter stated they had been living in their car for the past three years but wanted to help the Oberheim family. The Champaign Police Department asks anyone who knows the anonymous donor to privately message them on facebook.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul will be getting some major upgrades thanks in part to a state grant. Mayor Chuck Smith talks about the renovation and how it will help the community…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Peoria--jc)  --   The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021− more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions.


(Chicago--jc)  --  A survey shows Illinois business owners were less optimistic in May for the near future because of the ongoing labor shortage.The National Federation of Independent Business index dipped in May after a record high 48% of owners reported unfilled job openings.Enhanced federal unemployment benefits have been blamed for keeping potential workers on the sidelines. Twenty-five states have ended the program, trying to encourage more people to reenter the workforce.Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked  whether Illinois would be ending the benefits early, and he indicated not likely.

 

(Melvin--jc)  Two stops  to make at this year’s Ford County Fair are the concessions stands of Jay Beck. Beck and his crew have been providing delicious food for many years. Beck talks about elephant ears to taffy…

 

 

Beck’s Concessions Jay Beck. 

 

Jolee Hastings from Loda crowned Miss Ford County Fair Queen 2021

(Springfield-jm) -- Soybean planting is wrapping up in Illinois. 95 percent of soybean acres have now been planted, with 91 percent emerged. 63 percent of the soybean crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener gives an update on corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 82 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 28 percent, 56 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man has been arrested for allegedly hitting a woman on purpose in Champaign Monday. Stephen Booker was arrested for aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery. Booker is accused of running his car off the road on Paula Drive attempting to strike two women. One woman escaped being hit while the other one was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Jolee Hastings was crowned Miss Ford County 2021 last night at the Ford County Fair. Lyndi Allen was first runner up and Miss Congeniality. Fair President Kirk Miller talks about what is happening at the fair today…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On June 13th, Juan Baxin-Zolo of Paxton was ticketed for driving with no valid driver’s license and disobeying a stop sign during a traffic stop at the intersection of Pine and Vermilion streets. Also on the 13th police responded to an accident at the Village Pantry. On June 11th, Adriana Schlernitzauer of Chicago was ticketed for driving with no valid driver’s license during a traffic stop in the 300 block of East Orleans Street. Also on June 11th, Zachary West of Paxton was arrested on a Champaign County warrant for failure to appear on a charge of retail theft.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Agricultural exports show strong quarterly performance. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Soybean planting is wrapping up in Illinois. In the latest crop report, Statistician Mark Schleusener says 98 percent of soybean acres have been planted…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. That’s a decline from the previous week. 98 percent of corn has emerged and 68 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, also a decline. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at six percent very short, 28 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 165 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Monday. Since Friday, Vermilion County reported 23 new cases. Iroquois County reported 1 new case. Champaign County reported 19 new cases. Ford County did not have a report. The Iroquois County Public Health Department announced a series of Pfizer vaccine clinics: June 16th 7-9 am, June 17th 4-6 pm, June 23rd 7-9 am, June 24th 4-6 pm, June 30th 7-9 am and July 1 4-6 pm.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Jolee Hastings has been named the 2021 Miss Ford County Fair Queen. Lyndi Allen was the first runner up and named Miss Congeniality. On tap tonight at the fairgrounds is the Little Mr and Miss Pageant at 5:30 and the Talent Show at 6:30. WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today as part of our Summer Fun Tour 20-21.

 

(Gibson City--jc)  --  Canadian National Railroad offices say the  railroad crossing on West 8th Street will be closed in Gibson City from June 21st to June 25th. A detour will be provided through the city for those on state routes. 

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department will be providing COVID vaccines at the Ford County Fair. Community Educator Megan Reutter talks about the clinics…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man is facing child sex assault charges. John Petmecky was charged with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child after he allegedly confessed to molesting two children. A Champaign County judge ordered Petmecky to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness for trial. Bond was set at $300,000. He is due back for a status hearing on July 20th.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc) The new clinic for O-S-F was dedicated on Monday afternoon in Rantoul.  A blessing of the facility and ribbon cutting ceremony hilited the event. The new O-S-F On Call Urgent Care Center is open for business today in the 

village. 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's June outlook for our nation's soybean supply and demand noted some changes for the current marketing year and its impacts to the upcoming season. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Senate and House back in session this week

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Senate will be back in session Tuesday to take up the governor’s proposed energy deal. The House will be in on Wednesday. This is not a special session, which means lawmakers could continue to approve measures they didn’t resolve before leaving the capital city ten days ago. But, any legislation with an immediate start date would require three-fifths approval of each chamber.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a fresh produce drive this evening in Paxton. Community Educator Megan Reutter talks about the drive…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Severe storms knocked down trees and powerlines across the area Saturday afternoon. Winds up to 75 mph and half dollar size hail was reported. The hardest hit area was Buckley where several trees and power poles were down. Near Rankin a grain bin was blown into a pole. A semi was blown off the road near Danforth.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Gibson City and Ford County Boards both meet tonight at 7. In Paxton, the Ford County board will hear an audit report from the counties auditor, consider allowing the circuit clerks’ office to hire a full time deputy and approve the revised county employee handbook. In Gibson City, the city council is expected to discuss reducing the speed limit near Gibson Area Hospital, discuss railroad congestion and safety issues, consider bids to resurface the tennis courts, consider moving forward with a water and wastewater water rate study and consider issuing bonds for the new pool.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  --  Warm weather is here and that means street project time in one local community. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the council gave its O-K to use Motor Fuel Tax monies for several streets in Paxton…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- OSF will be hosting a ribbon cutting of their new Urgo location in Rantoul today. The ribbon cutting will take place at 2pm. The location, near Wal-Mart will be open to the public tomorrow.

 

 

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.

 

(Chicago-jm) -- Illinois Democrats used inadequate data and an opaque process to draw new legislative districts, a Latino civil rights organization argued in the latest lawsuit seeking to block the maps from being used for statehouse elections over the next decade. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund sued top Democrats and state election officials last week on behalf of five Latino residents of Illinois, saying the new maps are “malapportioned,” or not drawn to ensure equal representation of all populations. That could result in Latinos and other minority groups not being equitably represented in the Illinois General Assembly, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Top Illinois Republicans also challenged the maps last week in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Night one of the Ford County Fair is in the books. Fair President Kirk Miller details today's activities…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Police say three University of Illinois students were robbed within a two-hour time period. According to U of I Police, a student said he was robbed at approximately 10:46 p.m. on Thursday. It happened at an apartment complex in the 400 block of East Healey Street in Champaign. Then, at approximately 12:30 a.m. Friday, two other U of I students were robbed at gunpoint. The students said they were walking on the Engineering Quad when a person approached them, showed a handgun, and demanded their phones and wallets.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  --  With a new sports complex, growing factories on the west side of the village, Rantoul is growing.  New houses are needed to accommodate the growing population. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the village is working with the Champaign County First Group to encourage more train stops with Amtrak in Rantoul and Champaign…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be hosting three Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccination clinics this week. The clinics will take place Tuesday from 9 to 3, Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 and Thursday from 9 to 3.

 

Illinois Republican leaders have filed a federal lawsuit challenging new legislative district boundaries

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Republican leaders have filed a federal lawsuit challenging new legislative district boundaries drawn and approved by Democrats who control state government. They say residents were “robbed” of a fair and transparent process of creating maps that will be used for elections over the next decade. The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to void the maps and create an independent redistricting commission.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 408 new Coronavirus cases and 23 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,386,262 and deaths to 22,997. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases. Champaign County reported 5 new cases. Ford County reported 16 new cases. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state Environmental Protection Agency is warning the public to look out for blue-green algae in Illinois lakes and rivers. Algal blooms are more prevalent when the weather is warmer and are usually not harmful. But some growths of blue-green algae can produce toxins that can make people and pets sick. IEPA Spokesperson Kim Biggs explains how to spot the blooms…

 

 

IEPA Spokesperson Kim Biggs. Biggs says symptoms of sickness from the algae include a rash, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing. Problems most often occur when your skin comes into contact with the algae or contaminated water is accidentally ingested or inhaled.

 

 

(Clinton-jm) -- One person is dead following a jet ski accident on Clinton Lake Wednesday afternoon. Dive crews pulled a man’s body from the lake. The name of the victim has not yet been released. The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Country music star Brett Young will be heading to Springfield in August. Young will be joined by Russell Dickerson on the Illinois Lottery Grandstand stage at the Illinois State Fair.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There's some encouraging numbers in USDA's latest update on agricultural trade. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is the seventh-worst state for jobs, according to WalletHub. The consumer finance website reviewed factors among all states and for average commute time, Illinois ranked 45th. For employment growth, Illinois ranked 43rd. The state also ranked low for job opportunities, job satisfaction and unemployment rate. The state did land 18th for average length of the work week.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- After being closed for 10 years, the Illinois Caverns in southern Illinois is reopening to the public. The series of caves in Waterloo, Illinois were closed in 2010 as a precaution against White Nose Syndrome which can be fatal to bats says State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert...

 

 

State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. The site will be open to the public April through October on Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 to 4.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are using new technology to combat recent shootings. The police department is partnering with Flock Safety to put license plate readers throughout the village. The technology will provide officers with license plate information for suspects of shootings and other serious crimes. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- There is a change in leadership on the Paxton Park District board. Brad Ecker stepped down as a board member this week. Ecker served as board president. Denver Piatt was appointed president.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  U.S. agricultural exports in April dropped from sales in March. Is that something to worry about? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- One issue that didn’t get resolved during the spring legislative session, fixing the state’s FOID card backlog. Dueling bills were debated in the House and Senate, with one big difference between the two. One requires submitting fingerprints to get a FOID card, the other only requires fingerprints if you want to get a card that never expires. Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria sponsored that version.  Neither of the bills cleared both chambers. Lawmakers say they will continue working on the legislation.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Authorities are looking for the person who broke into gaming machines at a Rantoul bar. At approximately 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1, police were called to Shooters Bar and Grill for a report of an open door at the establishment. Officers found gaming machines that had been damaged as if someone broke into them. The suspect took an unknown amount of money from the machines before fleeing. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- In updating our story, authorities have released the name of the body found in a fuel tanker truck Friday near Buckley. Police say the victim is 29 year old Garrett Mayer of Nashville, Illinois. The incident remains under investigation. WPXN news will continue to update this story as official information is released.

 

(Cissna Park-dg) -- The Village of Cissna Park will be hosting a local vendor event this Saturday from 10-2. Between 20 and 30 local vendors will be set up with their merchandise for Shop the Park. Cissna Park Development board spokesperson, Todd Kaeb, talks about what will be there...

 

 

Cissna Park Development board spokesperson Todd Kaeb. Additional events will take place on Saturday July 10 and Saturday August 14. Check out Shop the Park Facebook page for a list of vendors

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- An electronics recycling will take place this Saturday in Paxton. It’s sponsored by the Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District. The district’s Sarah Earles has the details…

 

 

Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Sarah Earles. Items accepted include computer monitors, tv’s, printers, laptops and fax machines. Items not accepted include kitchen appliances, microwaves and vacuums. They are still looking for help. Anyone interested in volunteering can call Gene May at 217-379-3309.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College's summer schedule will go into effect on June 7. From June 7 to August 1, the college will open at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and will close Friday through Sunday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting is complete in Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. 93 percent of the corn crop has emerged and 74 percent is rated in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says soybean planting advanced by four points and is now 93 percent complete…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 96 percent of winter wheat has headed and average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as five percent very short, 16 percent short, 71 percent adequate and eight percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation addressing mental health emergencies is headed to the Governor’s desk. A new nationwide suicide prevention hotline number, 9-8-8 will be operational next summer. A bill passed by lawmakers requires communities to coordinate the new number with their 9-1-1 systems, so that calls are directed appropriately and people get the help they need. Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago says it was prompted in part by the death of a 15 year old Calumet City teen…

 

 

State Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago. His family had called 9-1-1 and police shot Watts after they say he threatened them with a knife. Cassidy says the change will make sure a mental health emergency will get a mental health response.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Police are still searching for the suspect involved in a deadly hit and run collision in Champaign County. It happened in the early hours of Monday, May 31, on I-57 southbound at milepost 245, near Thomasboro. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified the victim as 32-year-old Kendrick Jones of Little Rock, Arkansas. State police say they are looking for a 2010-2015 Chevrolet Equinox gray or silver in color and has Illinois registration.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Iroquois County authorities have released the name of the man found dead in a fuel tanker Friday near Buckley. Coroner Bill Cheatum identified the subject as 29 year old Garrett Mayer of Nashville, Illinois. The incident remains under investigation by Illinois State Police and the Iroquois County Coroner’s office.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement Patrols. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- The 2021 Ford County Fair gets underway this Sunday at the fairgrounds in Melvin. Fair President Kirk Miller talks about the fair returning following the pandemic…

 

 

Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is being designated as a "Purple Heart University." This means the university is being recognized for its support of veterans hurt in combat.The Chez Veterans Center will formally recognize the U of I during a ceremony on Friday, June 25. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting is complete in Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. With more than five days suitable for fieldwork this past week, Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says planting is wrapping up. He gives an update on the Illinois corn crop…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 93 percent of soybean acres have been planted and 84 percent has emerged. 96 percent of the winter wheat crop has headed and 76 percent is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture comes in at five percent very short, 16 percent short, 71 percent adequate and eight percent surplus.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing legislation creating new political boundaries in Illinois for the next 10 years

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Two people are dead following a crash in Iroquois County over the weekend. Illinois State Police say the accident happened on Route 49 near Woodworth around 6:30 Friday evening. Troopers say a car driven by Rickey Lane of Danville was traveling north on Route 49 when it was struck by a car driven by a 51 year old from Glendale Heights. Police say that driver and a passenger in Lane’s vehicle were killed. Lane’s vehicle caught fire and he was airlifted to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing legislation creating new political boundaries in Illinois for the next 10 years. The new maps outline districts for state lawmakers, the Cook County Board of Review and the State Supreme Court, reflecting the diversity of Illinois, says the Governor. But Republicans are criticizing the maps, saying they were only drawn by the Democrats, not an independent commission as the GOP proposed…

 

 

House GOP Leader Jim Durkin. Governor Pritzker says the new district boundaries ensure communities that have traditionally been left out have fair representation in government.

 

 

(Melvin-jm) -- Four young ladies are vying for the title of Miss Ford County. The girls competing are Jolee Hastings, Lyndi Allen, Kassidy Marshall and Tabitha JaBaay. The fair queen pageant will take place on Monday, June 14th at 7pm.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is still waiting for the state to move forward with the streetscape project. Mayor Bill Ingold says they would like to have the street done by September…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced unemployment numbers in metro areas around the state were down in April compared to last April. In Champaign County, the unemployment rate in April was 5 percent, down from 11 percent in April 2020. In Ford County the unemployment rate went from 11.9 to 4.1. Vermilion County went from 17 percent to 6.5 percent. Iroquois County went from 11.3 percent to 4.6 percent.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Will another month of drought in Brazil cause USDA to once again cut its forecast for Brazil's corn crop?  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign teen is dead following a weekend shooting. Coroner Duane Northrup says 17 year old Quansay Markham died from multiple gunshot wounds. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce golf outing is coming up on Friday, June 11th at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. Chamber President Alan Meyer talks about the event…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s Office released their May activity report. During the month, deputies issued 23 citations for speeding, 2 each for DUI and operating an uninsured motor vehicle and 1 each for defective windshield, unlicensed driver, improper lane usage, disregard for a stop sign and failure to reduce speed. Deputies also handled 13 custody disputes, 5 domestic issues, 2 each of theft, missing person, harassment and fraud and 1 each of fight in progress, burglary, vandalism and person with a weapon.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  The USDA has raised its 2021 forecast for grocery store meat prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Another 23,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week

(Springfield-jm) -- Another 23,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week, an increase of nearly 3,200 from the week prior. The U.S. Department of Labor also reports another nearly 4,600 independent contractors filed for benefits, an increase of more than 1,000 from the week before. In total, there are an estimated 425,300 Illinoisans getting unemployment benefits.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ limited adult-use cannabis stores sold another $116.4 million in the month of May. That’s up around $1.4 million from April. Total since January this year is more than $509 million. From January through April, the state has collected nearly $121 million in taxes. That’s split with a third going to general funds and a quarter to community groups in certain areas. The rest is distributed between unpaid bills, police and public safety campaigns.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 674 new Coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths Thursday. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases. Champaign County reported 8 new cases. Vermilion County reported 9 new cases. Ford County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers passed a $42 million dollar budget this week. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the budget…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul will be hosting a Juneteenth celebration. A celebration will take place on Saturday, June 19th from noon to 6 at Wabash Park. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Foosland man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly man. Preston Griffith was ordered to repay $8,072. Griffith pleaded guilty in late April to theft, admitting that between November 2019 and February 2020, he stole about two dozen checks from a then-87-year-old man for whom Griffith’s mother acted as a caretaker, then cashed them to fund his addiction.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) --  Passes for the 22nd annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or “Ebertfest,” will go on sale June 7. Festival passes cover all of the screenings during the festival, which runs September 8-11 at the Virginia Theatre. The lineup of films, guests and other events will be announced several weeks before the festival.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What's in store for dairy operators in 2022? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- While half the states in the country have ended or plan to end extended unemployment benefits, including several neighboring states, Governor J.B. Pritzker maintains the status quo in Illinois. Pritzker said people aren’t going back to work because they’re afraid of COVID-19, despite vaccines being widely available. He also said some may not want to take jobs they feel won’t help pay their bills.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- While numerous states tried to deal with budget gaps by tapping into rainy day funds, Illinois did not have that luxury. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, the total amount set aside in state rainy day funds fell for the first time since the Great Recession. State rainy day funds nationwide had a balance of $71.6 billion in fiscal year 2020, an amount second only to the pre-pandemic record-setting total of $78.7 billion. The state’s current rainy day fund could run government operations for one tenth of one day.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation dealing with new legislative maps were passed along party lines during the final hours of the spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

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(Champaign-jm) -- 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett held a townhall meeting last night in Champaign. Senator Bennett met with constituents at Parkland College.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City is looking to get a new swimming pool. The current pool is 100 years old and Mayor Dan Dickey says they hope to have the new pool done by next summer…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- There has been a concert line up change for the Mahomet Music Festival. Due to some scheduling conflicts, most previously announced artists for the 2021 Mahomet Music Festival have been changed. The artists who will not be coming to the festival as previously announced are Hardy, Lainey Wilson and Champaign Freight. Saturday night will feature country music artists Jordan Davis, Tyler Rich, and Onoleigh. Friday night’s lineup includes Hairbanger’s Ball and Strung Out! General Admission to the concert is free. More information on the event is available at www.MahometMusicFest.com.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is announcing two walk in COVID vaccination clinics. The first is a Johnson and Johnson one dose clinic today from 9 to 3:30 at the public health department office in Watseka. The second clinic is also a Johnson and Johnson one dose clinic which will take place on Tuesday, June 8th from 9 to 3:30 also at the health department.

 

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(Washington-jm) -- Brazil's crop production this year has been reduced by drought, but is Brazil in line for yet another year of rainfall shortages? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

Paxton townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Knights of Columbus Council on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

Nearly 51 percent of Illinois adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- The population of Illinois dropped by 18,124 from 2010 to 2020, a decrease of 0.1 percent, according to new data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Illinois population as of 2020 stood at 12,812,508, compared to 12,830,632 a decade earlier, the federal agency reported. 

 

New

(Springfield-jm) -- A credit rating agency is forecasting a full job recovery for Illinois and the rest of the country won’t happen until the end of 2022. Fitch Ratings says the job market was hit hard by the pandemic, and despite recent monthly gains, the recovery in employment has lagged output. Unemployment will not fall back to 4.3%, which is Fitch Ratings’ estimate of the natural rate, until the 4th quarter of next year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Nearly 51 percent of Illinois adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Over 67 percent have received at least one dose. Governor J-B Pritzker reminds that teens can now get vaccinated as well…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily COVID total includes 478 new cases and 9 additional deaths. The Governor says the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to decline. Locally, Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 3,111. Vermilion County reported 25 new cases and 1 additional death, a man in his 90s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,936 and deaths to 139. Ford County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,848. Champaign County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 21,000. Visit coronavirus dot illinois dot gov for the list of vaccination or testing sites near you.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Champaign is closing down. Carle announced that the vaccination clinic at the Kohl's Plaza will shut down on Sunday, June 6. Vaccination appointments for people who live or work in Champaign County will move to Carle Champaign on Curtis and Carle Urbana on Windsor. This transition will start on Monday, June 7. These clinics will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and will accept walk-ins only.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- How many acres of what crops are farmers planting this spring? USDA has begun the huge effort to answer that market-moving question for us. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest USDA Agricultural Prices Report reflects notable month-over-month increases in what most producers received pricewise for their crops and livestock commodities. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Gifford--jc)  The Gifford Community Celebration is set for Saturday June 26th in the downtown area of the village. A 5-K Walk and run kicks off the event at 7 that morning. A parade is set for 10am with food, a car show, waterball competition and bags tournament also hilite the day. The event concludes with fireworks at dusk at Werner Roessler Pak. WPXN will be broadcasting live for the Gifford celebration on June 26th as part of our Summer Fun tour 20-21. 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College will be adding a new Mental Health Certificate program this fall. The new five-credit-hour certificate will train entry-level mental health and social service workers to enter full or part time mental health support professional roles. These skills include therapeutic communication and de-escalation techniques; identification of signs and symptoms of mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities; and certification in mental health first aid, among others. The two-course program, offered by Parkland's Social Science and Human Services department, can be completed in a single semester and will benefit people working or wanting to work in social services organizations.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  Freedom Fridays are coming to downtown Rantoul. Live music will start in the downtown area on Friday July 2nd. The first artist is Chrissy Sparks. The Freedom Fridays will continue each Friday in the downtown area through August 20th.

(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois is a year past its lowest point in terms of job losses and it is recovering slower than all but a handful of states.  A new analysis of federal jobs data by the Illinois Policy Institute shows Illinois has added 408,400 jobs since April 2020, or 7.7% of the jobs lost since then. Employment levels in Illinois remain 424,800 below their pre-pandemic peak in January 2020, meaning Illinois has regained fewer than half the jobs it lost during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study shows Illinois is leading the Midwest in delinquent mortgages. Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows 5.7% of Illinois homeowners were at least 90 days behind on their payments at the end of 2020. The next closest was Indiana at 5.1%, Missouri was at 4.1% and Iowa and Wisconsin were both below 4%.

 

(Melvin--jc)  The 20-21 Ford County Fair is approaching fast. This year’s event will take place from June 13th through the 19th at the fairgrounds in Melvin. The annual Queen pageant is set for Monday June 14th at 7pm. Among other events include a lumberjack show on Wednesday June 16th at 7-30pm and the Eli Young music concert on Friday June 18th at 7-30pm. WPXN will be broadcasting live at this year’s event as part of ou Summer Fun Tour 20-21.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Springfield Avenue in Champaign is closed beginning yesterday for bridge repairs.  According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the closure involves Springfield Avenue over Copper Slough and east of Duncan Road in Champaign. There will be access to local businesses maintained during construction. Prairie Gardens can be accessed east of the bridge on Springfield Avenue from Duncan Road. Repairs are expected to last about two months. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Have higher commodity prices dampened global demand for U.S. agricultural products? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A Paxton man is a write in candidate for the Illinois Soybean Program Marketing Board. The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced the list of candidates Wednesday. Included in that list is Matthew Murray of Paxton. He would represent the 11th District on the board.

 

With COVID-19 numbers declining, Governor J-B Pritzker confirms that the state is about to open back up

(Springfield-jm) -- With COVID-19 numbers declining, Governor J-B Pritzker confirms that the state is about to open back up. New cases and hospitalizations are declining in Illinois, with some of the lowest totals recorded as of late. At a press conference, Governor Pritzker was asked if Illinois is ready for Phase Five…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. According to CDC numbers, more than 67 percent of Illinois adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than half are fully vaccinated. Since Friday, Champaign County reported 48 new cases bringing their total to 20,978. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 3,106. Vermilion County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 9,911.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is touting what he calls another landmark legislative session and a fiscally responsible new state budget. The Governor applauds the effort in recent months, saying Illinois is an example for the nation in resiliency…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says the budget also puts some of the federal COVID relief money the state is getting to good use for things like public health, help for small businesses and violence prevention programs.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County now has weather radio coverage when severe weather strikes. Crews installed a new transmitter on the broadcast tower for WCIA near Seymour. The county had been without coverage for nearly 16 months.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is putting together plans for road work this summer. Mayor Bill Ingold says they are opening bids June 8th…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is still dealing with the unemployment nightmare. Since the start of the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has closed their offices to in person traffic while thousands were left with unknowns of how they were going to pay bills and put food on the table. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he hopes things will get better as more things open up…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released results from May enforcement patrols. During the month, troopers issued 130 speeding citations, 94 seat belt citations, 13 drivers license citations, 6 insurance violations, 4 registration citations, 2 each of texting while driving and DUI citations, 1 child restraint citation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop planting continues in Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. 89 percent of soybean acres are now planted, with 74 percent emerged. That’s ahead of last year’s pace and the five year average. Crop Statistician Steve Parn looks at corn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Rainfall was above average this past week, leaving average statewide topsoil moisture was one percent very short, eight percent short, 69 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.

 

Paxton townwide garage sales will take place Friday, June 4th and Saturday, June 5th.

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour school district will be hosting another Bulldog Blueprint session next week. The next meeting is set for June 8th.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s golf outing is coming up next week at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. President Alan Meyer says there is still time to get your team together…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Onarga-jm) -- The Onarga pool is hosting a fundraiser this weekend. Manager Becky Morgan says they will be hosting a swimathon…

 

 

Onarga Pool Manager Becky Morgan.

 

 

(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 Thursday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop planting continues in Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. Crop Statistician Steve Parn says 95 percent of corn has been planted and 86 percent emerged. 80 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent conditions. Turning to soybeans…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. 95 percent of winter wheat has headed and the first cutting of alfalfa is now 71 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, eight percent short, 69 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.

 

 

Lawmakers are approving a decrease in small trailer fees

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two juveniles were taken to the hospital over the weekend after they were shot in Rantoul. Police were called to the 1300 block of Harmon Drive for a reported shooting around 11pm Sunday night. When they arrived they found a male and female juvenile who had been shot. They were taken to the hospital with what police believe were non life threatening injuries. Officers located the shooting scene near the intersection of Sycamore and Rosewood. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police at 217-892-2103.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers are approving a decrease in small trailer fees. The 18 dollar fee was hiked by 100 bucks in 2019 to help pay for the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital construction program. But Chicago Senator Antonio Munoz’s bill offers a reprieve…

 

 

State Senator Antonio Munoz of Chicago. Additionally, the bill increases the vehicle title transfer fee by five dollars to 155. It now goes to the Governor’s desk.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Nursing homes will have to offer residents virtual visits under a bill headed to the Governor’s desk. The pandemic highlighted the need for seniors to be able to see their loved ones, even if it’s only over a computer, says Representative Anna Moeller of Elgin…

 

 

State Representative Anna Moeller of Elgin. Moeler says social isolation can have a negative impact on a person’s health. The virtual visit mandate doesn’t have to be met until 2023 to give facilities time to set this up and state assistance will be available to help pay for the equipment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new gaming bill has emerged in the Illinois House. The measure lets people bet on Illinois college sports teams as part of a two year pilot program with a few stipulations, says Representative Bob Rita of Blue Island…

 

 

State Representative Bob Rita of Blue Island. The measure also limits home rule communities to a fee of no more than 250 dollars for a video gaming machine and prohibits local push taxes for most areas.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is encouraging everyone to get their COVID vaccine. Community Educator Megan Reutter says they will be offering more vaccine clinics in the month of June…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation allowing county boards to seek outside counsel when there is a conflict with their state’s attorney has been given approval in the Illinois House. The legislation is sponsored by Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur…

 

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Knights Inn hotel in Rantoul is now being demolished. The old hotel at the corner of US 136 and Murray Road is being torn down and in its place will be some form of new development that has yet to be announced.

 

 

(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.

 

(Springfield--jc)  Lawmakers, along party lines, have passed a new 42 Billion dollar state budget for the state of Illinois.  WPXN news will have reaction  from area lawmakers on the  new budget on later news casts today.  The budget was brought to the floor of the Illinois House at 11-49 Sunday night and was voted on 7 minutes later. 

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers are working on several changes to state election law, including moving the March primary to June. The change would only be in effect for next year, holding the primary on June 28th instead of March 15th says Representative Maurice West of Rockford…

 

 

State Representative Maurice West of Rockford. The large elections package also makes general election day in November a state and school holiday, lets people register for permanent vote by mail status and more.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Your local bar may soon be offering a vaccine drink promotion. The Senate approved legislation letting bars offer a free shot, beer or glass of wine to those who can show proof of vaccination. If now signed into law by the Governor, the promotion would run June 10th through July 10th. The measure also lets bars and restaurants continue to offer cocktails to go, which proved vital during the pandemic, says Senator Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago. The cocktails to go law would be extended until 2024 under the bill.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois may soon have a new state holiday, Juneteenth. Lawmakers passed a measure creating the Juneteenth holiday. It’s sponsored by Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago who explains the significance of the day…

 

 

State Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago. If the Governor signs this bill into law, the first Juneteenth National Freedom Day holiday will be observed this month.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City leaders are moving onto their next big project. Over the past several years, the city has looked at separating their combined sanitary sewer system. Now Mayor Dan Dickey says they are going to look at upgrades to the water plant…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House of Representatives held their annual Memorial Day tribute Saturday morning, honoring military personnel from Illinois who died during the previous year.   Since there was no ceremony last year because of COVID19, House members also honored those who passed over the past two years.  Included in those honored this year was Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman of Watseka, who died November 12, 2020, in a helicopter crash while on a peacekeeping mission on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Five U.S soldiers were killed in the crash along with a French and Czech service member. State Representative Tom Bennett…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An employee at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign was arrested by the University of Illinois Police. Randy Parkhurst was arrested for the offenses of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of a firearm.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour school district will be hosting another Bulldog Blueprint session coming up in June. The next meeting is set for June 8th.

 

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