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WPXN Blog Archives for 2021-07

Face coverings are now required in all state facilities for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people

(Springfield-jm) -- The State of Illinois announced on Thursday that face coverings are now required in all state facilities for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The announcement comes as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the majority of counties across Illinois are experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. State employees, regardless of their vaccination status, must one wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth while in a workplace or performing work duties in indoor settings outside of their residence.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet has filed a resolution for a full and complete audit of the state’s fraud-plagued unemployment system. A financial audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security was released earlier this week. The audit uncovered several issues.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Unemployment fraud has been rampant over the last year with the pandemic. Leaders in Springfield have released some numbers on the issue, We have reaction from 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson city

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  The 20-21 Old Settlers Reunion is set for next month in Cissna Park. The annual 3 day celebration takes place on August 19th through the 21st in the park in Cissna Park. Entertainment schedule includes a talent show on the 19th at 7-30, the Dixie Flyer Band on the 20th at 7-30 and Mike Porter and Marsha Banning on Saturday the 21st at 8pm. The annual parade steps off at noon on the 21st. WPXN will be broadcasting the parade live as part of our Summer Fun Tour 2021.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,651 new coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths Thursday. Champaign County reported 69 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 21,687 and deaths to 159. Vermilion County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 10,250. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Thursday. Tonight on the news at 4 and 5 we will look at case numbers in various communities.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Gates open at 10 am for the second to last day of the Champaign County Fair. The carnival starts at 5, demo derby is at 7 and 3 Gun Whiskey performs at 9. Tomorrow is the final day of the fair. It’s first responder day. Gates open at 8 am, ITPA tractor pulls are at noon, from noon to 5 its $25 unlimited ride bracelets at 5 its the IPA truck and tractor pulls.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is asking for the public's help collecting dead birds. The department collects and tests dead birds as part of its West Nile virus surveillance program. If you find a dead bird in Ford County, call 217-379-9281.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA food price analysts are sticking with their previous forecast for overall food price hikes this year, but they have increased their forecasts for meat prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  An open house for Dawn Good-Adwell is set for 1pm to 3pm today at the Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois in Paxton. Dawn has been at the local bank since 1978. 

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with Lisa and Dave tonight from 6 to 9 pm.

 

The Rantoul Family Sports Complex will hold a Movie at the Park tonight starting at 7:30 showing the movie Sing.

 

The Gathering in Gilman will hold their Junk in the Trunk tomorrow from 9 to 3.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the 1st Lutheran Church Youth Group tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- For months many have asked the Illinois Department of Employment Security why their unemployment offices are not open and consistently get the same response. "There have been credible threats," they say. Now, IDES has finally confirmed what those threats are: Arson, bombs and vandalism.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With the school year approaching, Illinois lawmakers are working to make sure children get on and off the bus safely. Previously, speed zones around schools became active at 7 a.m., but now under a new Illinois law, they will start at 6:30 a.m. on school days. The bill is effective immediately and aims to protect kids coming off the school bus by making sure drivers aren't speeding past early in the morning.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  --  Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is signing what he calls landmark legislation to increase affordable housing opportunities for Illinois residents. The new laws direct 75 million dollars in covid relief money towards building and rehabbing housing in areas of the state hit hardest by the pandemic, says the governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Additionally, the state’s affordable housing tax credit will be extended through 20-26 and another provision expands access to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,651 new coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths Thursday. Champaign County reported 69 new cases and an additional death. Vermilion County reported 15 new cases. Tonight at 4 and 5, we’ll look at outbreaks at area long term care facilities.

 

(Gilman--jc)  --  Gilman Super Saturday is back this year. The day long event takes place on Saturday September 11th. The day starts with an opening ceremony and a salute to first responders at 8am. A “Slow Boys” antique tractor show, car and motorcycle show, flea market, porkburger cookout, bags tournament , pet parade and live music hilite the day in Gilman. 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is reinstating its mask policy. Following the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday, whether you are vaccinated or not, you'll be asked to wear a mask on campus. All faculty, staff, students, and visitors are to wear a face covering inside university facilities starting today.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Will food shoppers finally see prices go down in 2022? Gary Crawford…

 

 

Masks are back if you want to go renew your license or take care of other business at an Illinois Driver's Services Facility

(Springfield-jm) -- Masks are back if you want to go renew your license or take care of other business at an Illinois Driver’s Services Facility. Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is reinstituting a mask policy beginning Monday says Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. The same policy will be in place at the state capitol and secretary of state offices. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,082 new cases Wednesday. Locally, Ford County reported 27 new cases bringing their total to 1,947. Champaign County reported 44 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 21,618 and deaths to 158. Vermilion County reported 71 new cases bringing their total to 10,235. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department is encouraging everyone to mask up as COVID numbers continue to rise. The health department says they are aligning their recommendations with recent guidelines from the CDC. The CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to help older special education students. Previously, once a special ed student turned 23, they were no longer able to attend school. Under this new law, they can still finish out the academic year, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The change begins with the upcoming school year.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s clock tower will receive an updated look. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the project…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Pennsylvania man faces up to 7 years in prison after an incident in Paxton back in April. William Glidden was found guilty on two counts of aggravated battery to a police officer. Police say they were called to the Cobblestone Inn on April 2nd for an intoxicated individual refusing to leave. Glidden tried to strike two Paxton police officers and a county deputy. Glidden will be sentenced September 22nd. 

 

 

(Rural Paxton-jm) -- The owners of a bed and breakfast near Paxton are seeking to suspend a judge’s order to sell the property. A judge ordered the owners of Timbercreek Bed and Breakfast to turn over the title to the property to Mark and Todd Wathen within 14 days so they could sell the property and collect over $81,000 from the sale. The Wathen’s sued the bed and breakfast back in 2011 after they refused to hold a civil union on the property. The Illinois Human Rights Commission fined the bed and breakfast $81,218 for discrimination against the couple in 2016. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Village of Rantoul will hold a Community Revitalization and Affordable Housing discussion tonight. The meeting will take place from 6-7 pm at village hall. The public is invited to provide input.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Bolstering our nation's food and farm supply chains from cyberattack grows in importance after a recent incident involving the world's largest meat processor. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says districts should keep the new masking guidelines in mind when developing plans for the new school year. The Governor says it’s important for schools to devise safety protocols that better fit their particular needs, but has this warning…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Under the latest guidance from the CDC, it’s recommended that all staff, teachers and students wear a mask inside school, regardless of vaccination status. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- One area health department is aligning their recommendations to fall in line with recent guidelines for masking from the CDC. The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department announced Wednesday they are encouraging everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to mask up. COVID numbers have risen significantly in the past few weeks and the Delta variant has been detected in Champaign, Vermilion and Iroquois Counties so far.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is boosting efforts to attract and support more early childhood teachers. For starters, Governor J-B Pritzker signed legislation creating a consortium among Illinois colleges to help child care workers earn advanced degrees, says bill sponsor Senator Cristina Pacione (pacy-oh-nee) Zayas (zye-as)...

 

 

State Senator Cristian Pacione. Additionally, the state will pump 200 million dollars in federal funds into additional training, mentorships and scholarships.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Chocolate Walk will be making a return this fall. Chamber President Alan Meyer has the early details…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- In updating our story from earlier this week, An Illinois State Police trooper, who was conducting a probable cause search during a traffic stop, was dragged by an SUV after the driver he pulled over sped away, according to the Illinois State Police. The incident took place on Sunday, July 25, 2021, on Interstate 57 southbound just north of Interstate 74 in Champaign County. During the traffic stop, troopers say they found probable cause to search the vehicle. The trooper then asked the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, Darrius McCarty of  Chicago, to step out of the vehicle. For unknown reasons, McCarty suddenly ran back to his rental car and got in the driver seat and drove off. At the time, the Trooper who initiated the traffic stop was still inside searching the vehicle through the open passenger door. The trooper was dragged for a short distance and both legs were run over by the back wheel of the fleeing vehicle. The trooper was taken to a hospital, treated, and released. McCarty is now wanted on an arrest warrant for aggravated battery to a police officer, with a bond set at $750,000.00 bond.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Sibley woman has been sentenced for driving on a suspended license. Terricia Martin was sentenced to 10 days in the Ford County Jail and fined $1,500. Martin was stopped in Gibson City back in October 2019 after an officer ran the tags on the vehicle Martin was driving that came back the driver had a suspended license. Martin faced a second trial this week for another charge for driving on a suspended license, this case from 2020.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County home sales made gains during the first half of 2021 compared to last year at the same time but there could be a slow down for the second half of the year. Home sales in June totaled 386 compared to 385 last year. 1,557 homes sold during the first half of 2021 compared to 1,372 for the first half of 2020.

 

(Washington-jm) -- How is the beef industry responding after a series of impactful events, and what can be done to improve supply chain resiliency against future occurrences?  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is adopting new masking recommendations from the CDC

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is adopting new masking recommendations from the CDC. State Public Health officials are urging Illinoisans, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors in counties with high transmission rates. All teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade are encouraged to mask up as well. Governor J-B Pritzker was asked about the new CDC guidelines…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. According to the CDC, the delta variant spreads twice as easily from one person to another as other strains of the virus. Illinois reported 1,669 new cases Tuesday. Champaign County reported 42 new cases bringing their total to 21,574. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance is issuing a warning about thefts of catalytic converters from autos. The company said nationally thefts of the car part have tripled in the last year. A company spokesperson says pandemic-related unemployment may be to blame. In 2019, State Farm paid over $4 million for catalytic converter theft claims nationally.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Wisconsin man was arrested after Paxton Police say he broke into two restaurants Monday morning. Tommy Branch from Milwaukee, reportedly broke into Monical's Pizza just before 3 a.m. and a Subway restaurant about 10 minutes later. Officers first arriving on the scene saw a car pulling away and conducted a traffic stop. Police were able to view surveillance video from the Subway and Monical's Pizza and saw Branch was wearing what the suspect was wearing in the video. Branch was arrested and is being charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of criminal damage to property, and one count of possession of burglary tools.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- GOP lawmakers continue to fight the legislative maps signed by Governor J-B Pritzker. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the Governor had a chance to do the right thing but chose not to…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is referring enforcement action against the gas pipeline company and contractors involved in the gas pipeline leak in Iroquois County to the Illinois Attorney General's Office. The referral cites Marathon Pipeline, Henrichs Drainage Inc and tenant farmer Brad Orr for the release of about 1200 barrels of unleaded gasoline from a pipeline buried under a farm field near Gilman. The referral asks the Attorney General's Office to obtain an order requiring the defendants to continue implementing response actions including the removal and proper disposal of all contaminated soils, development and implementation of a surface water and sediment sampling plan from the ditch to Spring Creek, additional sampling of private groundwater wells, additional surface water sampling, and confirmation sampling to determine that the response is complete.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The state of Illinois has announced the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s request for assistance to help people and businesses in McLean County recover from the torrential rains that occurred in June. Over 10 inches of rain fell in some parts of Central Illinois. In addition to McLean County, people and businesses in the contiguous counties of Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan Piatt, Tazewell and Woodford are also eligible to apply for low-interest, long-term loans from the SBA.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating a report of indecent exposure. A U of I employee says he saw an unknown man drop his pants and appeared to be touching his genitals while playing a piano in a classroom inside the Music Building. The man reportedly left the building immediately after he was confronted by the employee.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  Credit is the life blood of agriculture and the nation's Farm Credit System has performed a lot of transfusions in the last hundred and five years.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A team led by an Illinois scientist has discovered a way to boost crop yield and make plants more resistant to drought. University of Chicago Professor Chuan He said his team manipulated rice and potato plant genes, boosting yields by 50%. The plants grew significantly larger, produced longer root systems, and were better able to tolerate drought stress.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- It’s Livestock Day at the Champaign County Fair. Carnival rides start at 5, motorcycle racing at 6 and the Crazy Johnny Band performs at 9.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate has fallen compared to a year ago. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the unemployment rate for the state…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Locally, Champaign County went from 10.5 percent in June 2020 to 5.8 percent in June 2021. Ford County’s fell from 9.6 percent to 4.9 percent. Iroquois County’s went from 8.3 percent to 4.7 percent. Vermilion Counties fell from 12.6 percent to 7.1 percent.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Times are tough at the Champaign County Jail. In a letter to the Champaign County Board, Sheriff Dustin Heuerman says they are experiencing critical levels of staffing in the jail. He's calling on the Champaign County Board to act before the situation gets worse. Officers have left due to safety concerns at the downtown location and the environment. According to the letter, inmates have acted out, and two correctional officers have been attacked in the last year. Inmates have also voiced the intent to file grievances and lawsuits due to jail conditions, according to the letter.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois system is setting up offices in India to help recruit students and build relationships with academic and corporate partners. India already is one of the top countries of origin for students at the University of Illinois System’s campuses, with 2,848 students between the universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield last fall. That’s more than from any foreign nation other than China.


(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City Police have released their recent activity report. On July 20th, Ryan Strebeck of Gibson City was cited for display of registration plates, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and possession of adult-use cannabis in a motor vehicle. On July 24th, Katrina Stewart of Sibley was arrested for driving while license suspended.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- How is the farm economy doing? Ask the farm lenders. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Illinois reported 1,088 new Coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study by WalletHub has Illinois ranked 29th out of 50 for best states to start a business in.  The study looked at factors including business environment, access to resources, business costs and other factors, according to Wallethub spokesperson Jill Gonzalez. Illinois ranked 29th out of 50 states and ranked 40th in the business environment, 36th in business costs, and 8th in access to resources.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report confirms Illinois is among the worst in the country when it comes to funding its public pensions. The report was distributed by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit. It indicates the state is only 39% funded for future pension obligations, the second-worst ratio in the country.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 1,088 new Coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths Monday. Iroquois County reported 54 new cases over the past week. Champaign County reported 81 new cases since Friday. 35 percent of Iroquois County residents are fully vaccinated, Ford County 40 percent, Champaign County 49 percent and Vermilion County 32 percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is offering steps employers can take to prevent violence in the workplace. It’s a good idea for businesses to establish a zero tolerance policy for violence and provide safety education as to what conduct is not acceptable, says Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Additionally…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. The most common fields for workplace violence include healthcare, delivery and ride-share services, schools and retail.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- It’s Senior Citizens Day today at the Champaign County Fair. Gates open at 10, activities for seniors from 11-2, 1:30 junior dairy show, 5-10:30 $25 unlimited ride bracelet, harness racing at 7, karaoke contest at 7:30.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The state announced another round of $100,000 winners for the “All in Illinois” vaccination campaign. One of the winners is from Champaign County. The other winners are from Bolingbrook and Vernon Hills.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s streetscape project is being delayed. High construction costs plus delays in Springfield because of the pandemic has pushed the project back, says Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County Health Department has some recommendations to keep you safe from getting the West Nile Virus. This comes after a bird tested positive near Ridge Farm. They say you should reduce outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active, usually dusk to dawn, make sure windows and doors have tight fitting screens and replace any that have tears or other openings, eliminate all sources of standing water including bird baths, flower pots and wading pools and finally wear long sleeved shirts and pants if you have to be outside during peak mosquito hours and apply insect repellent that contains DEET.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Many school districts are making final plans for students to return to the classroom in a couple of weeks. One area district’s plan is causing a stir for some in the community. The Mahomet Seymour School Board recently announced that masks will be strongly encouraged for students and staff this fall. Some parents feel masks should be mandatory.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Here’s the crop report for the week ending July 25th. 77 percent of soybeans are blooming and 38 percent are setting pods. 64 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Turning to corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 39 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to three percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) --  A new analysis by the American Legislative Exchange Council shows Illinois is one of the worst states in the country with bond debt. Total state bond debt for all 50 states exceeds $1.25 trillion dollars, with Illinois and 9 other states accounting for 64%, or $809 billion of the total. The report ranks Illinois 47th in the country with over $76 billion in total bonded obligations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report out of the Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning Lab at the University of Illinois shows preschools are still finding ways to remove children, and behavioral problems are the main reason. Eleven out of 1,000 children are excluded from preschool programs in Illinois. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- While most of the state has seen plenty of rain, drought conditions persist in far northern Illinois. Areas south of I-88 have been wetter than normal over the past month, with central Illinois precipitation four to eight inches above average since mid-June. While conditions are a little better in northern Illinois, it’s going to take more consistent rains to alleviate the ongoing drought. The current outlook shows warm, humid weather with spotty showers. There’s a better chance of widespread rain the first week of August.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 1,088 new Coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths Monday. As for cases at long term care facilities, Amber Glen Alzheimer Care Center is reporting 4 cases, University Rehabilitation Center of CU 6 cases, Prairieview Lutheran Home Danforth 2 cases, Accolade Danville 4 cases and 1 death and Heritage Health Hoopeston 5 cases and 4 deaths.

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The 4th Annual Fisher Lucky Foot Festival is coming up in August. Spokesperson Joe Wier talks about the festival…

 

 

Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier.

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will host a pair of Pfizer COVID vaccine clinics this week. The first one will be Wednesday from 7-9 am with the other clinic being Thursday from 4-6 pm. Other upcoming dates include August 4th from 7-9 am and August 11th from 7-9 am.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on a committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the U-S Capitol. Kinzinger has been an outspoken opponent of former President Donald Trump and was censured by several county GOPs including the Iroquois County Republican Central Committee.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Here’s the crop report for the week ending July 25th. 91 percent of corn acres are silking and 20 percent are now in the dough stage, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 68 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 93 percent of the second cutting and 39 percent of the third cutting of alfalfa hay is now complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture declined over the week to three percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and eight percent surplus.

 

The State Department of Public Health is reporting nearly eight thousand new and probable cases of COVID-19 over the past week

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Department of Public Health is reporting nearly eight thousand new and probable cases of COVID-19 over the past week. The most recent seven day total compares to about 44 hundred cases reported the previous week. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says the increase once again underscores the need to get vaccinated…

 

 

State Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Illinois counties are now at warning levels for the virus based on new cases, hospitalizations and ER visits for COVID like symptoms. Locally Piatt and McLean Counties are in the warning level. Vermilion County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 10,164. Ford County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 1,920. Champaign County is now at 21,451 cases and Iroquois County now stands at 3,249.

 

(Fairbury-jm) -- The 2021 Forage Expo will be held this week in Fairbury. The expo will be held at the Kilgers Farmstead on Friday from 8:30 to 5.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Today its Kids Day at the Champaign County Fair. Open swine show starts at 8, open dairy and sheep show starts at 8:30. Preschool rides in kiddie land from 10-noon and carnival rides open at 5.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There are concerns about the funds that pay unemployment benefits. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett talks about the concerns…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Unemployment rates around the area were down in June compared to last year. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the rate in Champaign County went from 10.5 percent in June 2020 to 5.8 percent in June 2021. Ford County’s fell from 9.6 percent to 4.9 percent. Iroquois County’s went from 8.3 percent to 4.7 percent. Vermilion Counties fell from 12.6 percent to 7.1 percent.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 3 years probation for his role in a robbery in Rantoul. Angel Quinones received the sentence after pleading guilty in June to attempted aggravated robbery. Quinones and another man tried to rob a person on February 25th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The numbers in Friday's USDA cattle-related reports could be bullish for prices.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County Public Health is reporting a bird in the Ridge Farm area has tested positive for West Nile.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City leaders have approved two facade grants. Country Kettle will get $5,000 while Hull Brothers Contracting will receive $2,568.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Republicans have filed a lawsuit over the legislative maps passed by Democrats and signed into law by Governor J-B Pritzker. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says we should hear some news on the lawsuits in the coming days…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School Board is spending nearly $70,000 to replace the high school track. The contract was awarded to Midwest Track Buildings to replace the track. It will allow the district to host state tournaments in the future.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Matthew Murray of Paxton has been named to the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Milk production continues to grow as the dairy herd expands. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Nearly two thousand cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Nearly two thousand cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday in Illinois, the highest one day total since early May. The latest daily total is 1,993 and 6 additional deaths. Governor J-B Pritzker says they are carefully watching the numbers…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says 99 percent of COVID patients in the hospital who have recently died were not vaccinated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law increases access to birth control by letting pharmacists issue it over the counter. Until now, too many women have struggled to get the pill, says bill sponsor, Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake…

 

 

State Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake. The new law takes effect January 1st, letting specially trained pharmacists counsel customers on their best options for birth control and then dispense the medication without a prescription.

 

 

(McLean County-jm) -- A new wind farm is coming to southeastern McLean County. The wind farm is estimated to cost $350 million and features 64 turbines covering more than 14,000 acres of land in Bellflower and West Townships.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The 2021 Loda Good Ole Days gets underway today. Spokesperson Alisha Whitcom talks about the first day of the event…

 

 

Loda Good Ole Days Spokesperson Alisha Whitcom.

 

 

(URbana--jc)  --  A 20 year veteran of the Champaign County police department was named as interim Champaign Police Chief on Thursday. Matt Henson will serve in the position. Current chief Anthony Cobb will retire as of August 5th. Local leaders are beginning the process to replace Cobb.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District has two new members. Craig Kief and Nick Williamson were recently sworn in to replace Bobby Kinnaird and Brad Ecker who both resigned.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law expanding access to telehealthcare in Illinois. The measure builds upon the utilization of telehealth services during the pandemic, ensuring more people have access to medical care, says Senator Napoleon Harris of Harvey…

 

 

State Senator Napoleon Harris of Harvey. The telehealth law takes effect immediately.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Sibley man is facing assault and weapons charges. Police say Jason Joslin allegedly pointed a gun at customers and employees at Meijer on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign. Joslin is due back in court August 9th. Bond was set at $250,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- If you still need to renew your driver’s license you still have time. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the deadline has been extended…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County has a new caseworker when it comes to the Workforce Development Program. The new caseworker will cover both Ford and Iroquois Counties and will come from Watseka. The former caseworker was reassigned to Piatt and Douglas Counties.

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with In Bloom tonight from 6 to 9 pm.

 

The 14th Annual Largecar Shootout will take place today through Sunday at the Rantoul National Aviation Center.

 

The 10th annual Loda Truck and Tractor Pulls will take place today through Sunday.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Boy Scout Troop 32 tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

 

 

The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding employers they need to prominently display health and safety posters

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawyers for Illinois’ Democratic legislative leaders last week filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit from Republicans and a Mexican American advocacy group regarding newly drawn legislative maps, calling the challenge “purely speculative” until full U.S. Census data is released. Both suits name the Illinois State Board of Elections and its individual members as well as Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon as defendants. The lawsuits focus on whether American Community Survey data, rather than full census data, is a permissible source for drawing legislative district lines.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding employers they need to prominently display health and safety posters. It may seem like a small thing but the posters deliver important messages to workers about their rights says Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. The required posters are available on the Department of LAbor’s website under the tab “employers.” Keller urges workers to read the important messages featured on the signs.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is hosting a series of Pfizer COVID vaccine clinics. The first clinic is today from 4-6 pm. Other dates and times include July 28th from 7-9 am, July 29th from 4-6 pm, August 4th and August 11th both 7-9 am. The clinics are both walk in or by appointment and is open to Illinois residents 12 and older.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will host their all you can eat pancake and sausage supper tonight from 5 to 7:30 pm. Cost is $6.

 

 

(Peoria-jm) -- OSF Healthcare is announcing all employees will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Peoria based healthcare provider with hospitals in Urbana, Danville, Bloomington, Pontiac and Peoria and clinics throughout the area is the latest employer to require employees to be vaccinated.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- We now know how much it will cost Champaign County taxpayers to fix the satellite jail after someone drove through it last week. Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman says that the assessed damage to the county jail total over $100,000 in damages. Insurance adjusters are looking at the cost of replacing two large garage doors, a smaller garage door, a vehicle that the sheriff says is likely totaled, and fencing around the perimeter.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- One of the bills passed during the spring legislative session has to deal with carbon capture. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett talks about the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will resume offering public shows this August. Beginning August 6, the planetarium will offer Summer Prairie Skies, a live-narrated tour of the night sky, on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Immediately following at 8 p.m., the new fulldome video Birth of Planet Earth will debut.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Not much change during this past week in the condition of the nation's corn crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois was named the best state for infrastructure by CNBC. The network ranked the best infrastructure states in its America's Top States for Business study. Aspects looked at include roads, bridges, airports, utilities and broadband, along with site availability and sustainability.  The study praised Illinois for being a leader in value of goods shipped, having a reliable power grid, boasting good broadband connectivity, having abundant air travel and offering plenty of available commercial space. Illinois also has infrastructure issues, including roads and bridges described by CNBC as "decrepit" and public water systems needing major refurbishment.

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District is expanding their Admin team as well as hiring additional staff. The hiring includes a District Family Engagement Specialist, District 504 Coordinator, Assistant Principal at Mahomet Seymour High School, 6-12 Math Instructional Coach, K-5 Instructional Coach, District Behavior Interventionist, Pre-K teachers and an IT Specialist. The staff will be paid through either evidence based funding from the state or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Fewer people are getting their COVID-19 vaccines, so hospital systems are rearranging their systems. Carle Health is halting some of its walk-in vaccine locations. Carle in Champaign on Curtis and Carle in Urbana on Windsor is no longer offering walk-in clinics for vaccines. 

 

(Parkland College--jc)  --  Chairman of the Middleground PAC, Mark Sheldon was in attendance at the Parkland College board of trustees meeting on Wednesday.. Sheldon announced a new endowed scholarship to the Parkland Foundation in the name of former U S Congressman Tim Johnson of Urbana. Funds for the scholarship come from prior congressional campaigns.  Johnson has also served the area as a lawyer, educator and state representative.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The 10th Annual Loda Good Ole Days truck and tractor pulls are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Spokesperson Alisha Whitcom talks about the different pulling classes…

 

 

Loda Good Ole Days Spokesperson Alisha Whitcomb.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Faculty and staff at the University of Illinois will have be fully vaccinated this fall. University system President Tim Killeen sent out an email today with the announcement. Students were already required to be fully vaccinated.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The teen accused of a 4th of July shooting in Rantoul is facing additional charges. 18 year old Teigan Hunt of Urbana is now charged with armed robbery. Police say he allegedly pulled a gun and robbed a person. Hunt is charged with aggravated battery for the Rantoul shooting. If convicted he faces a mandatory 6 to 30 years in prison.

 

(Urbana--jc)  Today is the first day of the Champaign County Fair. Gates open at 4pm with the carnival opening at 5pm Tonight is the country music concert featuring Gary Allan with Travis Denning. There is a DJ in the beer pavilion at 9, The fair continues through July 31st

 

(Washington-jm) -- This past week brought a slight improvement in the condition ratings of the U.S. soybean crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is calling on Congress to repay the Illinois National Guard for its mission in DC earlier this year

(Rantoul-jm) -- One person is dead following a house explosion in Rantoul yesterday. The incident happened on Broadmeadow. Fire officials say the house was moved about a foot off its foundation. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified the victim as 66 year old Raymond Wolst. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. The fire rekindled around 9 last night.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is calling on Congress to repay the Illinois National Guard for its mission in DC earlier this year. Guard units across the country assisted with security after the January 6th riots at the U-S Capitol, but still haven’t been reimbursed by the federal government. Illinois Adjutant General Major General Richard Neely says they are owed 31 million dollars, leaving a big funding shortfall…

 

 

Illinois Adjutant General Major General Richard Neely. Governor Pritzker says Congress needs to act with urgency to protect the integrity of the National Guard.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Police are searching for a missing person. Dominique Harris was reported missing/endangered on July 8th. The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office was called early July for the missing man. His mother told deputies Harris had been arrested in Champaign on July 5th. Harris is 5’6″ tall, 180 pounds, with black and reddish hair in 5″ twists. If you know anything, you are asked to call the Champaign County Sheriff at 217-384-3776.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The 2021 Champaign County Fair gets underway Thursday at the fairgrounds in Urbana. Fair President Bill Alagna says he’s glad to have the fair back this year…

 

 

Champaign County Fair President Bill Alagna. Activities at the fair include a pair of concerts with the Beach Boys and Gary Allen, stock car and motorcycle racing, monster trucks, demo derby and truck and tractor pulls.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Fire Marshal’s Office is stressing safety when children are near water this summer. According to the American Red Cross, 66 percent of young children who were found drowned or submerged  in swimming pools weren’t expected to be in or at the pool. Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz says that’s why it’s important to pay close attention to kids when they are near water. Additionally…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz says kids should be taught to stay away from any pool drains and that drain covers should meet federal safety standards.

 

 

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

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The 2021 Loda Good Ole Days and Truck and Tractor Pull takes place this weekend. Spokesperson Alisha Whitcom says its the 10th annual event…

 

 

Loda Good Ole Days Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Alisha Whitcom. WPXN will be broadcasting Sunday as part of our Summer Fun Tour.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their pancake and sausage supper tomorrow from 5 to 7:30 pm at their station located at 134 W. State Street. Cost is $6.

 

Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton announced yesterday they will be running for re-election

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton announced yesterday they will be running for re-election. As part of Monday's announcement, they released a video that highlights what they say are the strength of the state’s response to the COVID pandemic and J-B’s commitment to the people of Illinois.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Board of Higher Education is releasing updated COVID-19 guidance for colleges this fall. The goal is to make it a safe transition back to class by maintaining several protocols, says Board Executive Director Ginger Ostro…

 

 

State Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro. It’s recommended that students and faculty who are not vaccinated wear a mask inside and also outside for crowded events. Ostro says they are encouraging schools to mandate the vaccine. More information about the college guidelines is available online at: ihbe dot org.

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is announcing the Delta variant has been detected in the county. The health department announced 41 new cases over the past week. The health department says the Delta variant is 60 percent more contagious.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Wayne Link has been appointed the new street and alley superintendent in Gibson City. Link previously served as assistant superintendent and will be given a raise for the promotion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois GOP lawmakers continue to take issue with the way the General Assembly approved the most recent state budget. The budget was brought before lawmakers in the middle of the night and voted on it within an hour of receiving it, says 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington…

 

 

Senator Barickman also says the rush caused errors to be made that had to be fixed weeks later…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Niche magazine has ranked the best counties in Illinois. The rankings are based on schools, cost of living, job opportunities and home values. Champaign County came in #4, Ford County #31, Iroquois County #63 and Vermilion County #70.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Above average rainfall dominated recent days as we hear in the weekly crop report. Southern Illinois received the most rain, and Northern Illinois the least, but totals were still higher than normal. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 66 percent of soybeans are now blooming…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 9 percent of corn is in the dough stage with 65 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition. The second cutting of alfalfa hay is now 87 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 23 percent surplus.

(Springfield-jm) -- According to a recent WalletHub study, Illinois unemployment insurance claims are recovering at the 7th slowest week-over-week rate in the nation. According to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, Illinois’ June 11th full reopening was later than many other states, causing the land of Lincoln to fall behind in hiring back their workers. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign finds that 2020 was a deadlier year than the previous five, even without COVID-19 numbers. The virus was one of the leading causes of death last year but U of I Computer Science Professor Sheldon Jacobson says they found numbers grew for other deaths as well…

 

 

U of I Computer Science Professor Sheldon Jacobson. While those 65 and older were most vulnerable during the pandemic, Jacobson says males between the ages of 15 and 64 were hit the hardest by other causes of death in 2020. He says it’s important to review these figures to address additional public health needs that arose during the pandemic and how they can be better treated in the future.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An Urbana man is facing several charges after ramming a gate at the Champaign County Jail. Yevgeniy Nikolaev was arraigned on seven counts Monday. Those include Attempted Murder, Aggravated Assault, Criminal Damage, Possession of Stolen Vehicle, Aggravated DUI, Theft, Unlawful Vehicular Invasion. The potential penalty is a maximum of 80 years, he was appointed a public defender, and his bond continues at $2 million. 


(Vermilion County-jm) -- Vermilion County Coroner Jane McFadden has released the name of the victim of a kayaking accident on the Vermilion River in Oakwood Sunday. McFadden says the body of 27 year old Dustan Haase was recovered Monday morning.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The CDC and the state has released some guidance for schools to reopen this fall for in person learning. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the guidance…

 

 

Representative Bennett says the decision should be left to local districts…

 

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton City Council has a new member. Mayor Bill Ingold appointed Paul Crutcher to fill the vacancy in Ward 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Above average rainfall dominated recent days as we hear in the weekly crop report. Statewide average precipitation this past week was nearly two and a half inches, with Southern Illinois receiving the highest totals. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says corn is now silking on 77 percent of acres, well ahead of the five year average…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 66 percent of soybeans are blooming and 20 percent are setting pods. The crop improved to 60 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 23 percent surplus

 

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Illinois. Over the past week, more than 44 hundred new and probable cases were reported. That compares to about 29 hundred the previous week. Speaking at a virtual town hall meeting, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike said the delta variant remains a concern, since it’s a lot more contagious…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. There were 476 Illinois COVID patients in the hospital.  Ezike says the best way to buck the trend is to get vaccinated. Ford County’s total now stands at 1908. Vermilion County’s total is 10,133. Iroquois and Champaign Counties did not have a weekly report.

 

(Loda--jc)The town of Loda will be busy this weekend. The 2021 Loda Good Ole Days starts on Friday night with a Little Mister and Miss Pageant and a Junior Mister and Miss Pagaent. Its family night on Friday nite. Saturday sees the annual parade at 10am through the village. Weed wacker pulls, a bags tournament and music hilite Saturday. There are also fireworks on Saturday night in Loda. Sunday, its the 10th annual Truck and Tractor Pull at this year’s event. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- When it comes to mask requirements in the classroom, Governor J-B Pritzker says it’s important for individual districts to set their own policies. The state is following CDC guidelines, recommending that students and staff who have not been vaccinated still wear a mask. But the Governor reminds it’s not a mandate...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says districts have the ability to make their own decisions based on the COVID-19 risk in that area.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating a shooting in the village Friday. Police were called to a report of shots fired. A vehicle showed up at the Rantoul police station with a 16 year old male gunshot victim. Police located a shooting scene in the 1000 block of Golf Course Road. They say the teen was struck by gunfire in the backseat of the vehicle. He was taken to the hospital with what is believed to be non life threatening injuries.

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Erica Johnson has been crowned the 2021 Miss Champaign County Fair. The pageant was held yesterday. The 2021 Champaign County Fair gets underway Thursday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says there are currently no plans to reinstate mask requirements in Illinois. Los Angeles County is once again requiring masks indoors and Las Vegas is recommending visitors there do the same whether they are vaccinated or not. Governor Pritzker says he’s not looking to implement a mandate as of now…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor reminds that the virus has proven very unpredictable so things could change in the future, especially in the areas that are seeing the largest increase in cases.

 

(Urbana--jc)  Two national acts are coming to the Champaign County Fair this week. On Thursday its country music star Gary Allen and onFriday, the Beach Boys make an appearance at the fair in Urbana. The 2021 Champaign County Fair starts on Thursday

.

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing three upcoming lotteries for marijuana dispensary licenses. One lottery will be held late this month and then two more in August, giving applicants a shot at being able to sell adult-use recreational cannabis. The Governor also signed a new law, designated to diversify the growing industry…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also authorizes some community colleges to offer a “career in cannabis” certificate.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Clean up of a gas spill in Iroquois County continues. A 12 inch Marathon Pipeline gas pipeline was struck Wednesday afternoon by a contractor crew. Marathon officials believe approximately 1200 barrels of gas was spilled.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A crash near Rantoul on I-57 shut down the southbound traffic early Sunday morning. The accident happened near mile marker 251 just before 1 am. The road was closed for just over an hour.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  The 14th annual Largecar Shootout comes to Rantoul on Friday. The three day event runs through Sunday at the Rantoul National Aviation Center. 

The Illinois Department of Revenue is sending out thousands of tax refunds to people who received unemployment benefits

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says he spoke this week with President Joe Biden about gun violence in Illinois. While in DC, the Governor says he stressed that the state is fully engaged and working with federal authorities to fight gun trafficking and illegal sales in Chicago and other parts of the state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Illinois House Republicans held a separate press conference on the subject saying something must be done and that recent criminal justice laws aimed at police officers aren’t helping.

 

New

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Revenue is sending out thousands of tax refunds to people who received unemployment benefits. A provision of the American Rescue Plan Act means quite a few taxpayers will be receiving the automatic refund says Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky)...

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky). The state will be notifying an estimated 33 hundred taxpayers who filed paper returns that they will need to submit an amended return to get the refund.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has confirmed the Delta variant has been detected in Champaign County. This particular variant does appear to be more transmissible and is impacting younger patients in a way previous variants have not.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Democrats passed new legislative maps during the spring session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about how the process played out…

 

 

Representative Bennett continues to explain why the maps had several issues…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Fithian-jm) -- State Representative Mike Marron has been appointed to the Legislative Ethics Commission by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. The commission will work to advance ethics legislation in the General Assembly.

 

 

(Crescent City--jc) One change in the schedule at the Iroquois County Fair is the Livestock sale. That will take place today at 1pm. More information is found on the groups website or facebook page. 

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- Last night at the Iroquois County Fair was the demolition derby. Spokesperson Debbie Krones talks about what is happening Friday…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones. We will have our WPXN charity ice cream booth in operation through the weekend. We will also be broadcasting live over the noon hour as part of our Summer Fun Tour.

 

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

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with Jill and Jordan tonight from 6 to 9 pm.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Loda Lutheran Ladies Aid tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is now the first state in the nation to ban police from using deception when interrogating young people. Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of new reform laws, in hopes of protecting those most vulnerable in Illinois’ justice system…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Other new laws create a resentencing task force which will study ways to reduce the state’s prison population and protects those participating in restorative justice programs so they can speak more freely.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Amtrak is resuming full service next week. Starting Monday, the rails are back in business, says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The routes include five daily trips between Chicago and St. Louis, two between Chicago and Quincy and three daily round trips from Chicago to Carbondale.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The man accused of driving into the Champaign County Jail is not expected in front of a judge until Monday. Yevgeniy Nikolaev will be arraigned at 8:45 via Zoom. The 37-year-old is being held at the McLean County Jail. Authorities say he can’t be in Champaign County because he’s a security risk.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- Tonight at the Iroquois County Fair its the Latting Rodeo at 7. Spokesperson Debbie Krones has what’s happening at the fair on Saturday…

 

 

Krones wraps up with what’s happening on Sunday of this years fair…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Jury trials are expected to begin next week in Ford County. After more than a year, jury trials will resume in the Ford County courthouse in Paxton.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- Hoopeston police are investigating a trio of thefts recently. A scooter was reported stolen in the 200 block of North Market Street. A concrete goose was reported stolen in the 400 block of East Seminary Avenue. A stolen license plate sticker was reported in the 300 block of East Penn Street. Anyone with information is asked to call Hoopeston police.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Chocolate Walk will be making a return this fall. Chamber President Alan Meyer has the early details…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

The well-being of children in Illinois has improved much over the past decade

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report says the well-being of children in Illinois has improved much over the past decade. The Kids Count Data Book, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows 16% of Illinois youth were living in poverty last year, down three points from 2010. They also did better in some areas of education. Despite the good news, there’s still concern about the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What's the latest outlook for soybeans? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A man suspected of ramming a gate at the Champaign County Jail on Wednesday morning is facing multiple charges including attempted murder. Yevgeniy Nikolaev of Urbana is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, criminal damage to government supported property, vehicular invasion and attempted first degree murder. Police say he allegedly stole a truck where he drove to the highway department where he tried to take another vehicle. He then allegedly went to the satellite jail where he tried to enter the sally port on foot. When he couldn’t get in, he rammed into the sally port door nearly striking a corrections officer. He got away on foot and was apprehended a short time later.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City firefighters were called to a kitchen fire Wednesday evening. Crews were called to the fire in the 1400 block of Railside Drive. No injuries were reported.

 

(Crescent City-jm) --  Last night was Family Fun Night, Armband special night and Talent Show night at the Iroquois County Fair. Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones talks about what is happening today at the fair…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones. Summer Fun Tour stop #10 will continue over the noon hour.

 

(Iroquois County--jc)  Marathon Pipe Line  personnel are responding to a release of gasoline from one of its pipelines in Iroquois County. Pipeline officials have shut down and isolated the pipeline and have deployed resources and personnel to contain the release and initiate clean-up activities. Gasoline has reached a field ditch but has been contained upstream of Spring Creek.  Officials are conducting air monitoring as a precaution. There have been no injuries reported as a result of the release.The top priority during its response is to protect the safety of the responders, members of the public, and the environment. Relevant regulatory agencies, US and IL EPA,  have been notified and are supporting. Information is not yet available on the volume of product that has been released.  The cause of the release is believed to be the result of third party activities.

 

 

Gibson City will host a dedication of the Miner School landmark today at 1pm with a reception to follow at North Park.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. J.B. Pritzker that would further restrict local law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials. Senate Bill 667 also would close immigrant detainment centers across the state. Pritzker has pledged to sign the bill. Lawrence Benito, executive director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights called the new act a win for immigrant communities.

 

 

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

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is receiving $50,000 to improve its internet access and speeds. The funding is part of the state's Regional Engagement for Adoption Digital Equity program which looks to expand digital access to communities throughout Illinois.

 

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

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is planning several upcoming events later this year. Chamber Director Amanda Vickery has the details…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.

 

The end of the eviction moratorium is approaching

(Springfield-jm) -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Tuesday joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take stronger measures to regulate child car seats. In a letter, Raoul and the coalition asked the NHTSA to implement side-impact testing standards for child car seats as quickly as possible, a move the attorneys general said is 20 years overdue. The attorneys general further urge the NHTSA to require that all child car seat labels include clear, concise language conveying a principle that all child car safety experts endorse: that every child remain in his or her current seat until they exceed its height or weight maximum.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law cracks down on wage theft in Illinois. The law increases the damages employers are assessed if they haven’t paid workers fairly from two to five percent of the amount of monthly underpayment, says State Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

State Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. This could be not paying employees minimum wage or not compensating for overtime. The law takes effect immediately.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The end of the eviction moratorium is approaching. Officials say fill out your applications before July 25th if you need help paying for rent and utilities because of the pandemic. The Regional Planning Commission has given out more than $3 million through the Emergency Rent Assistance Program. The money has helped nearly 1,200 households in Champaign County. You can get the application at the Champaign and Urbana libraries, the Community Service Center in Rantoul, and at RPC’s main office.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The owner of a Paxton business has been ordered to hand over his property to a couple he once refused to serve because he didn’t pay up after being sued for discrimination. In a court motion, Walder Vacuflo, Inc. was instructed to turn over the TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast to Todd and Mark Wathen within 14 days for the purpose of sale. The document states the Wathen’s are authorized to sell the property at a public sale, with proceeds to be applied to the outstanding judgment balance of $81,218. The Wathen’s contacted the ACLU and sued the business in 2011 after they were told they couldn’t host their civil union at TimberCreek because they are gay.  In 2015, the Illinois Human Rights Commission ordered Walder Vacuflo, Inc. to pay a judgment of $81,218.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- The 2021 Iroquois County Fair continues today at the fairgrounds north of Crescent City. Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones talks about what is happening at the fair today…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones. We will continue our broadcast of Summer Fun Tour Stop #10 over the noon hour.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for distributing and possessing child pornography. Dwayne White received the sentence in federal court. White pleaded guilty  in March to two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  The last week has produced a slight bit of good news for the nation's corn crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state's unemployment trust fund is in dire straits after the pandemic forced thousands to rely on benefits over the last year and a half. The fund is a pool of money that employers pay into through taxes and that is where the money comes from to pay out unemployment benefits. Now the fund is facing a historically high deficit that will be anywhere from $4.6 billion - $5 billion by the end of the year. Lawmakers are hopeful that the federal government will supply states with more money to handle these debts. The state could also use some of the American Rescue Plan Money to solve this but has not said they will do that at this point.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is announcing an eight million dollar expansion of the state’s apprenticeship program. The effort aims to create hundreds of new apprentice positions across the state, focusing on industries heavily impacted by the pandemic. While you may think of apprenticeships mainly in the trades. DCEO Deputy Director Julio Rodriquez says they can also be a stepping stone in the entertainment, hospitality and restaurant industries…

 

 

DCEO Deputy Director Julio Rodriquez. Community workforce development groups are urged to apply for funding online at: apprenticeship illinois dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- State Senator Jason Barickman’s Multi-Generational Farm Bill has been signed into law by Governor J-B Pritzker. Senate Bill 47 would expand the use of the Transfer on Death Instrument. The old law only allowed for the transfer for residential real estate with at least one dwelling and no more than 4 and containing under 40 acres of farm ground. The new legislation allows it to be used for all real estate including farm ground.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean safety doesn’t need to be at the forefront of farmers and the motoring public. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece provides some safety tips…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Five area teens have been arrested after they were found in a stolen vehicle in Paxton. Paxton police were called to Pells Park on July 11th for a report of juvenile mischief. Police located a truck that had been reported stolen. Inside they found a 15 year old male and 4 female passengers, two 15 year olds from Paxton, a 15 year old from Buckley and a 14 year old from Paxton. The female passengers were found to be in possession of alcohol. The male driver had cannabis. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There's been little to no improvement over the last week in the condition rating for the U.S. soybean crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Tornado touches down near Fisher Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops have declined a bit as we hear in the weekly crop report. It was a little cooler and wetter this past week, and 48 percent of soybeans are now blooming, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 50 percent of corn is silking and one percent is in the dough stage. The condition of the corn crop dropped to 60 percent in good to excellent condition, down from 65 percent the previous week. 95 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and the second cutting of alfalfa is now 79 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as five percent very short, 16 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers failed to pass an energy bill during the spring session. 106th District Representative Tom Bennett talks about the process in Springfield…

 

 

Representative Bennett says there are several issues that need to be addressed in the bill…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Rural Fisher-jm) -- The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down near Fisher Monday. The tornado touched down north of Fisher and caused damage to a farm. 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau is beginning to plan more upcoming events now that the state is fully reopened. Manager David Treece talks about some of the events being planned…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- OSF HealthCare and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are proud to announce an important expansion of the SHIELD-CU COVID-19 testing program. Starting July 14, 2021, some SHIELD CU COVID-19 testing sites will expand to Parkland College in Champaign. Parkland will offer SHIELD CU testing to the wider community in addition to its students, faculty and staff.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  USDA's latest Crop Production report shows diverging results for winter and spring wheat production forecasts. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Crecent City--jc)  --  The 201 Iroquois County Fair Queen Pagent is set for tonight. Joel Cluver has the details…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops have declined a bit as we hear in the weekly crop report. 48 percent of soybeans are blooming and six percent are setting pods. 56 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, down seven points from the previous week. 50 percent of corn is silking, compared to 45 percent for the five year average, says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 95 percent of winter wheat has been harvested, that’s ahead of last year and the five year average. Average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as five percent very short, 16 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- The 2021 Iroquois County Fair gets underway today at the fairgrounds north of Crescent City. Spokesperson Debbie Krones says there have been some upgrades done to the fairgrounds…

 

 

Krones talks about what is on the schedule today…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones. We will be broadcasting live from the fair over the noon hour as part of our Summer Fun Tour stop #10. We will also have our WPXN charity ice cream booth in operation.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Another area community is looking to redevelop their downtown area. Rantoul could soon do a streetscape project says Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be holding COVID vaccine clinics by appointment. The clinics will be Monday through Friday 9-3:30. To schedule an appointment call the health department at 815-432-2483.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There were several highlights in the July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, or WASDE report. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

The next drawing for the state's vaccine lottery will be held today

(Springfield-jm) -- The next drawing for the state’s vaccine lottery will be held today. In the second drawing, three prizes of 100 thousand dollars will be awarded from a statewide pool of adults. That will happen each Monday through August 16th says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The state will check the vaccine rolls a week prior to see who is eligible and a grand finale drawing will be held August 26th. More than 72 percent of Illinois adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 57 percent are now fully vaccinated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Better make sure you have auto insurance, because Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office will be checking. The office is using a new system to track down those that aren’t covered as required by law, says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Those busted will be hit with a 100 dollar fine and have their license plate suspended. But, if you get a letter from the Secretary of State’s office saying you don’t have insurance but you actually do, you’ll need to contact your agent to get that verified.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Two people were taken to the hospital following an accident near Thomasboro Saturday afternoon. State police say both vehicles were traveling south on Route 45 just after 1pm, when one vehicle swerved to miss the other. The vehicles collided and ended up in the median. The driver of the vehicle that struck the other vehicle was cited for aggravated DUI, driving while license revoked, failure to reduce speed and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Police have arrested one of two suspects in the drive-by shooting in which two young girls were shot and three men grazed by bullets on July 4th. 18 year old Teigan Hunt was arrested. Police are also looking for a 16 year old. Bond was set at 1 million dollars.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly approved a $42 billion budget in the waning hours of the spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the budget process…

 

 

Representative Bennett says during the rush to push it through a critical error was made…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing construction on Route 9 from the Ford/Vermilion County line to Route 1 in Hoopeston will begin today. The project involves pavement patching and resurfacing and intermittent lane closures will be required. Work is expected to be completed in late November.

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- A local blood drive is set for today at the First Lutheran Church in Paxton.  Event coordinator Kevin Hanson says those who are donating will receive a thank you gift…

 

 

Paxton Blood Drive Event Coordinator Kevin Hanson

Blood supplies are in short supply in the local area, region and state.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is adopting school COVID-19 prevention guidance put out by the CDC. Under the guidance, teachers and students who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear a mask, but it’s recommended that those who aren’t continue wearing a mask indoors. Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s pleased the information has been put out…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The CDC also recommends that students in the classroom are spaced three feet apart and that disinfection, handwashing, screening testing and other measures continue.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to an oven fire Sunday morning. Crews were called to the fire in the 600 block of East Pells Street just before 11 am. No injuries were reported.


(Piper City-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is teaming up with the Illinois National Guard to do a COVID vaccine clinic in Piper City. The Pfizer vaccine clinic will be held at Piper City Junior High from 8 to 2:30 on July 15th. Those to get a vaccine on the 15th will be eligible to win tickets to Six Flags.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly have filed a lawsuit over the Democrats redistricting efforts. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says its not just Republicans that disagree with the way the maps were drawn…

 

 

Senator Barickman says he believes the lawsuits will stand and there could be changes…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Undated-jm) -- RSV cases in kids are on the rise in Central Illinois. RSV is a respiratory virus that has common cold-like symptoms. Normal respiratory illness season starts in October and ends in April or May.

 

Teens can now get their work permit remotely under a new state law

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging new hunters to get their license and apply early for upcoming hunting seasons. While DNR is switching to a new system, Spokesperson Rachel Torbert says those who plan to hunt in the coming months should get their license now. She explains why…

 

 

State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Torbert says once you get that customer number you can apply for permits for hunting season like dove, upland game and bobcat.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There's more good news for the State of Illinois' credit rating. S&P Global Ratings improved the state's bond rating on Thursday. This is the second rating upgrade in the past two weeks. Moody's upgraded Illinois' bond rating at the end of June.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Teens can now get their work permit remotely under a new state law. The remote option was offered during the pandemic and now the new law makes it permanent, says Illinois Department of Labor Spokesperson Paul Cicchini (chick-kini)...

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Spokesperson Paul Cicchini. Cicchini says all teens under 16 need a state permit to work and certain rules are in place about the hours they can spend on the job.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Did farmers plant more corn or soybeans this year? Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says for the two counties it's an even split of corn and soybeans…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign will be getting a new top cop. Chief Anthony Cobb announced he is resigning in August. Cobb has been chief for 9 years.

 

The 2021 Historic Farm Days continues through Sunday, July 11th in Penfield. This year’s featured tractors include Massey Harris Ferguson, Minneapolis Moline and B.F. Avery.

 

Christ Lutheran High School will hold their annual golf outing today at Shagbark Golf and Country Club in Onarga at 1pm. Cost is $75 per person or $300 for a team of 4. Call 217-394-2547 to sign up.

 

The Gibson Area Hospital Foundation will hold a pork chop lunch today at 11 am in the Doctor’s Park parking lot. Cost is $8.

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with 90s Daughter Acoustic tonight from 6 to 9 pm.

 

Balloons over Vermilion will take place tonight and tomorrow at the Vermilion County Regional Airport in Danville.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Paxton Covenant Church tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

The Shop in the Park in Cissna Park will take place tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in L’Erable will hold their annual Parish Homecoming on Sunday with Mass at 11 and dinner to follow.

 

(Washington-jm) --  The USDA will incorporate new planted acreage numbers in its upcoming crop supply and demand forecasts, but will it change its previous yield estimates? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, says the expanded Child Tax Credit, which is part of the American Rescue Plan, will start sending out checks to eligible families next week. The checks will come on a monthly basis from July 15th through December and will directly help children living in poverty. Families with children under the age of six can now receive up to $3,600 per child, and families with children ages 6 to 17 can receive up to $3,000 per child for 2021. Monthly advance payments of up to $300 per child under six and up to $250 per child between the ages of six and 17 will begin next Thursday. The IRS says the remainder of the tax credit will be applied to taxes filed next Spring. Families will automatically be sent checks if they have filed tax returns during the past two-years. Senator Durbin says he hopes Congress can pass legislation that will make those payments permanent.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new exhibit at the Illinois State Fair this year will hi-lite the history of Route 66. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says the Route 66 experience is a multi-year project, with the first phase opening during the fair next month. It’s being set up inside gate 2 and will offer visitors a chance to walk the iconic mother road from Chicago to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, with stories about historical attractions and businesses along the way…

 

 

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon. The Illinois State Fair runs August 12th through the 22nd in Springfield.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- According to a new report from Self Financial using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois has the seventh largest wage gap between whites and minorities in the entire nation with a 32.2% gap for the state. The report says the median minority wage is $40,000 in Illinois while non-Hispanic Caucasians make $59,000 - a 32.2% difference.

 

(Paxton--jc)  A Blood drive is set for Paxton on Monday.  There is still time to set up an appointment, Blood drive coordinator Kevin Hanson provides information on how to sign up…

 

Paxton Blood Drive coordinator Kevin Hanson

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Last night at the Fisher Fair was the rodeo. Fair President Todd Cotter talks about what’s happening today…

 

 

Cotter also has the schedule for the final day on Saturday…

 

 

Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter.

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Rural Champaign County residents could see improved internet connection and speed. The county is looking to improve internet access for those residents. They recently approved hiring a consultant for a study on broadband access and to identify service providers.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Brazil's current corn crop, now being harvested, has had to deal with a number of challenges. Analysts are at odds over the effect of those challenges. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The first drawing for the state's COVID-19 vaccine lottery will be held today

(Springfield-jm) -- The first drawing for the state's COVID-19 vaccine lottery will be held today. The initial prize in the “All in for the Win” promotion is one million dollars. College scholarships worth 150 thousand dollars each will be picked from the pool of Illinoisans who received at least one dose of the vaccine by July 1st. Earlier this week Governor J-B Pritzker made another plea for people to get the shot…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says winners will be notified by the state Department of Public Health either via phone, email or both. Drawings will be held through the end of August so there is still time to enter by getting vaccinated. Visit: all in dot illinois dot gov for more details.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state finished the previous fiscal year with more than $317 million in cannabis taxes. That far eclipsed the $52.7 million the state collected for the previous year with just six months worth of sales. More than a third of the revenue goes to the state’s general revenue fund. Ten percent goes to the state’s backlog of unpaid bills. A quarter of every cannabis tax dollar goes to community groups in certain areas. Total sales for May were nearly $116.4 million. That’s nearly $1.5 million more than was sold in April.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul has seen an economic boom since the development of the Rantoul Family Sports Complex. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery talks about how the village has benefited from the complex…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The village of Mahomet is another step closer to having an indoor recreation facility. The village purchased land to develop the facility. Village leaders have looked into building a facility since 2008.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Last night at the Fisher Fair was the Ehler Brothers ITPA truck and tractor pulls. Fair President Todd Cotter talks about what is happening at the fair today…

 

 

Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Could Champaign County employees receive a pay bonus? That’s the question before county board members after two department heads approached the board with the request. Circuit Clerk Susan McGarth and Michael Williams, director of probation and court services, are asking the board for county employees to receive $10 an hour back pay from March 17, 2020 through March 1, 2021.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U.S. is selling to other countries far more food and agricultural products than last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is installing highway signs to indicate where alternative fuel is available. More than 30 signs have been posted statewide along highways like I-55, 70, 90 and 80, letting drivers know where they can fuel up, says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Additional signs will be posted later near exit ramps providing more direction. They will first focus on electric charging but will later include information on other alternative fuels like hydrogen and natural gas.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Those placing sports bets in Illinois wagered fewer dollars in May than they did in April by 5.6 percent. Despite being the second monthly decline, industry analysts with PlayIllinois.com say the state is still the No. 2 sports betting jurisdiction in the country. Illinois saw $507.3 million in May, down from $537.2 million in April. That generated nearly $6 million in state and local taxes.

 

 

(Penfield-jm) -- The 2021 Historic Farm Days gets underway today in Penfield and runs through Sunday. This year’s featured tractors include Minneapolis Moline, Massey Ferguson and BF Avery. I and I Club President Chuck Stelter talks about the show…

 

 

I and I Historic Farm Days President Chuck Stelter. The WPXN summer Fun tour continues over the noon hour today the the event in Penfield


 

(Gilman-jm) -- The 2021 Gilman Super Saturday will take place this year. Organizers announced the event will take place on Saturday, September 11th. More details will be coming in the coming days.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  --  Blood supplies are short in the local area and state. A blood drive is set for Monday at the First Lutheran Church in Paxton. Event coordinator Kevin Hanson says those wanting to give blood must pre-resgister…

 

 

Paxton Blood Drive event coordinator Kevin Hanson

To register...go on line at blood-center-dot-org and use code 71-252

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On June 28th, Dewey Couch Jr of Rankin was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. On June 29th, Eric Welch of Farmer City was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Americans are buying more and more food and agricultural products from other countries. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to increase access to healthcare across Illinois.

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials are again alerting the public about bogus emails and texts. The Illinois Attorney General's Office has been getting complaints about fake messages purporting to be from the Secretary of State's office and the Departments of Transportation and Employment. They are likely a scam, says Governor J-B Pritzker...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says you should not click on any links in the message, even if it appears to be from a local number unless you are certain of the source.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Two people died and more than two dozen were arrested during Operation Dry Water over the holiday weekend. Illinois Conservation Police patrolled Illinois waterways during the operation, focusing on removing those operating under the influence.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Rantoul isn’t the only area community benefiting from the new sports complex. Paxton is looking to attract more visitors from the sports complex, says Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- An iconic building in downtown Rantoul is now a pile of rubble. Crews tore down the former bank building at the corner of Sangamon and Garrard. A meeting will be held tomorrow night at 6:30 in downtown Rantoul to discuss what to do with the space.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Last night  at the Fisher Fair the Fair Queen pageant was held. Sarah Porter was crowned queen. Layla Edwards was crowned Jr. Miss Fisher Fair and Bailey Bonham was crowned Little Miss Fisher Fair.  Fair President Todd Cotter talks about what is happening at the fair today…

 

 

Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston man is behind bars on $150,000 bond for allegedly robbing a business over the weekend. Hoopeston Police were called to 112 Wine and Coffee Shoppe for an armed robbery Saturday afternoon. Matthew Hofer was arrested in connection to the robbery.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Winter wheat harvesting is ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. There were about three and a half days suitable for fieldwork this past week, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 65 percent of corn and 63 percent of soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition, with 22 percent of soybean acres now blooming. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at three percent very short, 13 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to increase access to healthcare across Illinois. The law boosts the state’s Medicaid program, providing more support for veterans and those trying to quit smoking, says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also requires hospitals to give anyone who has overdosed on opioids in patient status and  includes coverage for kidney transplant medications for undocumented Illinoisans.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- None of the more than $8 billion the state of Illinois got from federal taxpayers is going to the state’s unemployment debt some have projected to be nearly that much. Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Rob Karr said the interest could be up to $60 million if the debt isn’t paid off. If federal funds aren’t used to pay the debt, Karr said there’ll likely be tax increases on employers, benefit reductions or both.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- There has been some price fluctuations in the ag market. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece talks about what is causing the ups and downs in the market…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Illinois State Police are investigating after a person was shot on I-74 in Urbana yesterday afternoon. State Police say the shooting happened on I-74 at Lincoln Avenue. The victim, a 22 year old Rantoul man, is expected to survive.

 

 

(Penfield-jm) -- The 2021 Historic Farm Days gets underway tomorrow at the grounds in Penfield. This year’s featured tractors include Massey Ferguson, BF Avery and Minneapolis Moline. I and I Historic Farm Days President Chuck Stelter says they will have tractor pulls again this year…

 

 

I and I Historic Farm Days President Chuck Stelter. The show runs through Sunday.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Will County man is in the Ford County jail after he allegedly stole three vehicles and led police on a chase Saturday. Paxton police were called to a report of an abandoned vehicle near Just Hamburgers. That vehicle was determined to be stolen, witnesses told police Nicholas Czarny of Lockport, left that vehicle and stole a second one. That vehicle was found abandoned near Ludlow and another vehicle was reported stolen. That evening police were called to Casey’s in regard to a theft. Czarny was seen leaving as police arrived and a chase ensued. He allegedly struck a Paxton police car in the process of fleeing. Gibson City police used spike strips to end the chase near Route 9 and 500. Czarny escaped on foot and was later apprehended early Sunday morning. He faces multiple felony charges including possession of a stolen motor vehicle, motor vehicle theft, criminal damage to state-supported property and aggravated fleeing and eluding police. He’s also charged with retail theft, reckless driving, driving on a revoked or suspended driver’s license and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Winter wheat harvesting is ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. 87 percent of winter wheat has been harvested, compared to 79 percent at this time last year and 82 percent for the five year average. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 14 percent of corn is silking and 65 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The second cutting of alfalfa is now 50 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at three percent very short, 13 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

President Joe Biden will be making his first stop in Illinois since taking office

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois voting rights groups have reached a settlement agreement with Secretary of State Jesse White over alleged violations of the federal Voting Rights Act and Illinois’ recently passed automatic voter registration law. The lawsuit argued that the secretary of state’s office, which offers voter registration services, violates state and federal law and “frustrates Illinois citizens’ ability to register to vote.” The secretary of state’s office allegedly failed to provide applicants with required information about voter eligibility, ask applicants about their voter registrations status, and offer information in other languages, as required by state and federal law.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Unemployed and need affordable healthcare? The Illinois Department of Insurance says help may be available. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, those who have received jobless benefits this year can look for greater savings on the health insurance marketplace, says Get Covered Illinois Executive Director Laura Pellikan…

 

 

Get Covered Illinois Executive Director Laura Pellikan. Pellikan says even if you just signed up recently you can go back and see if you’re eligible for a better deal. 

Get started by visiting: get covered illinois dot gov. The last day to enroll is August 15th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- This weekend was a dangerous weekend as 15 people were shot in the area. Three adults and two children were shot in Rantoul Sunday evening. Friday afternoon five people were shot, one fatally at an American Legion in Champaign. Four people were shot in Danville early Sunday morning after a concert at a bar. Also Sunday, a person was shot in Urbana.


 

 

(Illinois--jc)  --President Joe Biden will be making his first stop in Illinois since taking office.According to the White House, Biden will be in suburban Crystal Lake on Wednesday to talk about the American Families Plan, which includes $1.8 trillion in investments and tax credits for families and children over 10 years old.The Democratic Party of McHenry County said on Twitter that Biden would be visiting McHenry County College.


 

(Fisher-jm) -- A parade and ice cream social unofficially kicked off the 80th Fisher Community Fair last night. Fair President Todd Cotter says the first official day of the fair is today…

 

 

Fisher Community Fair President Todd Cotter.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will spend over $20,000 for new hydrants. The city council approved spending $24,000 to purchase 10 hydrants.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Food shoppers are seeing prices going up faster than previously projected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with 90s Daughter Acoustic on Friday, July 9th from 6 to 9 pm.

 

Balloons over Vermilion will take place on Friday, July 9th and Saturday, July 10th at the Vermilion County Regional Airport in Danville.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new national report that evaluates K-12 civics and U.S. History standards adopted by the 50 states and the District of Columbia gives Illinois an F in both subjects. A bipartisan team conducted the reviews, according to the Thomas B.  Fordham Institute. The results indicated that Illinois is inadequate in both subject areas, and the disciplinary concepts are so general as to be useless to teachers, students, parents, curriculum planners, and assessment designers. A complete revision is recommended. It further stated that Illinois' U.S. History standards are almost nonexistent, providing insufficient guidance for educators who have the responsibility to teach American history.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Protecting your family from ticks this summer. After being out in the woods or a grassy area it’s always a good idea to check for ticks, says University of Illinois Extension Entomology Specialist Sarah Hughson. If you find one, you can remove it with a pair of tweezers by grabbing it at the base and pulling it straight out. You should not pinch it with your fingers or burn the tick…

 

 

University of Illinois Extension Entomology Specialist Sarah Hughson. Hughson says dogs should be checked as well, especially near the ears and armpit areas.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Tickets for Christian band Mercy Me go on sale this Friday at noon. Mercy Me will perform at the State Farm Center on November 6th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly passed 600 bills during the spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses some of the bills…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County home sales continued their hot streak in May. According to the Champaign County Association of Realtors, home sales rose 35 percent compared to May of last year.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- If you are a dog owner and are living in an area where it's dangerously hot, experts urge you to be alert for symptoms of heat stress and stroke in your dog.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Shop in the Park in Cissna Park will take place on Saturday, July 10th from 10 to 2.

 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in L’Erable will hold their annual Parish Homecoming on Sunday, July 11th with Mass at 11 and dinner to follow.

 

 

The recent heavy rains could have an impact on the crops

(Champaign County-jm) -- A Fisher man is dead and two others were injured following an accident in Champaign County over the weekend. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 48 year old David Wisehart died at Carle Hospital Saturday night from blunt force trauma. Northrup says Wisehart was driving on 1700 East near county road 3275 North when he swerved to miss a deer and collided with another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

 

(Rantoul --jc)  -- Last night at approximately 8:18 pm, Rantoul Police Officers were dispatched to the 400 block of South. Maplewood Drive in Rantoul, for multiple reports of a shooting. Callers reported two juveniles had been shot. Officers arrived on scene and located a 15-year-old female and a 7-year-old female who had sustained non-life-threatening injuries to their lower extremities. Three other subjects, two 25-year-old males and one 41-year-old male, were found to have sustained grazing wounds from the shooting. The two juvenile females were transported to the hospital for treatment. The three male subjects suffering from grazing wounds refused transport, and were unwilling to provide any additional information. Multiple witnesses reported an SUV drove by the residence and a subject within the SUV shot the victims. The SUV was last observed driving south on Maplewood Dr. The description of the SUV was incomplete. Rantoul police continue to investigate this incident. If you have any information on this crime, please contact the Rantoul Police Department 217 892-2103, or CrimeStoppers 217 373-TIPS.


 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were called to a single vehicle rollover accident on the northwest side Friday. Crews were called to the accident near 600 N. and 1900 East just before noon. No word on if there were any injuries.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Nearly 200 people became official U-S citizens Friday during a naturalization ceremony at Wrigley Field. The new citizens are from 45 different countries. Governor J-B Pritzker spoke at the ceremony…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says his great grandfather, Nicholas Pritzker, immigrated to Chicago from Kiev in 1881.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Dr. Flavel Heyman and Cynthia Swanson were winners of the Golden Deeds Award yesterday at Pells Park during Paxton’s annual 4th of July celebration.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- There will be a couple of streets in Rantoul that will receive some upgrades this summer. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the work will happen on Congress and Sheldon…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- Up and coming country singer Jason Pritchett will headline the Iroquois County Fair. Pritchett will take the stage on July 17th at 8pm.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The recent heavy rains could have an impact on the crops. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece talks about how the weather has impacted planting and crop development…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering some tips for safe summer grilling. More than 10 thousand home fires across the US are started by a grill each year. That’s why it’s so important to take a few precautions, says Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. That includes only using gas and charcoal grills outside and never leaving them unattended…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. Fultz says you should also make sure your grill is clean and free of built up grease and wait until charcoals cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

 

 

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

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The 2021 Fisher Community Fair gets underway this week. Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter talks about this year’s fair…

 

 

Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter. Former Illini and Fisher High School basketball player Zach Griffith will be the grand marshal.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul is getting another hotel. The village announced Friday a development agreement has been reached by a developer to build a Hampton Inn by Hilton. The hotel would feature 80 guest rooms, indoor pool, a meeting room and outdoor patio.The agreement is pending village board approval. The village did not say where the new hotel will be built.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state of Illinois is hoping to increase the number of people getting the COVID-19 vaccine through a special incentive program. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the All in for the Win program…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 6 traffic accidents and issued 18 citations for speeding during the month of June. Deputies also issued 2 citations for driving on a suspended or revoked license and 1 each for DUI, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, improper lane usage and illegal transportation of alcohol. Deputies responded to 7 custody disputes, 6 reports each of harassment and domestic issues, 5 thefts, 3 each of fraud and suspicious persons, 2 each of burglary, abuse and suicide threat and 1 each of vandalism, trespassing, phone scam, missing person, hit and run, criminal damage and death investigation.

 

The Illinois State Police is reminding drivers not to drink and drive this Fourth of July holiday weekend

(Springfield-jm) -- Roads across Illinois that have been closed for construction will soon reopen. The Illinois Department of Transportation says those lanes will reopen, where possible, for the Fourth of July holiday. The change is an effort to keep travel disruption to a minimum. Roads will reopen starting at 3 p.m. today and remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 5.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state is beginning the new fiscal year with the lowest bill backlog in decades. The current backlog is two point six billion dollars down from a high of 16 point seven billion just four years ago. Comptroller Mendoza says this is a great way to kick off fiscal year 2022…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza notes this was done without using any of the federal American Rescue Plan money coming to Illinois.

 

 

(Charleston-jm) -- Eastern Illinois University officials have announced that vaccines will be the expectation for all eligible students and employees. In a letter sent to all students and staff regarding vaccination expectations for the Fall 2021 semester, the school says it recognizes some people with health or other factors may not be candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine. EIU says unvaccinated students and faculty will have to wear masks indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County residents are being reminded today is the deadline to pay the first installment of property taxes. They can be paid at any Ford County bank, at the county treasurer’s office, by mail or in the dropbox outside the courthouse. The second installment is due by September 10th.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul will be celebrating the 4th of July holiday with several days of activities. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery says the activities kick off this evening…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with Chrissy Sparks tonight from 6 to 9 pm.

 

The Rantoul Freedom Celebration will take place tonight and tomorrow. Tonight its the 5k at 6 with fireworks at dusk. Tomorrow at 9:30 is the parade.

 

The Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Club will hold their tractor drive tomorrow starting at 9:15 in Sibley.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Top Star Cheerleading tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

Buckley St. John’s School, church and community will have its annual picnic on Saturday. Food stand opens at noon. Fun and games from noon -6pm, bingo, and worship service in the evening with fireworks at dark. 

 

Onarga will hold their 4th of July celebrations tomorrow with a parade at 11, 3 on 3 tournament and fireworks at Durham Park at dusk.

 

Paxton’s old fashioned 4th of July will take place on Sunday with a car show, watermelon eating contest and more at Pells Park then fireworks at Bixby Park at dusk.

 

Buckley will hold a 4th of July parade on Sunday starting at 3pm.

 

The Livin’ La Vida Loda charity event for the PBL Youth Football and Cheerleading and the Bayles lake Auxiliary is set for Sunday at Lakeview Country Club. Come out and meet Chicago Bears greats Dan Hampton and Otis Wilson. Music from the Bears group Chicago 6 Band. The event starts at 9am, meet and greet at Noon music at 12-30 and steak dinner at 2:30.

 

630 am New

(Washington-jm) -- Food safety experts say many of the food poisoning cases that will flare up on July 4th will be from two common grilling mistakes. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is reminding drivers not to drink and drive this Fourth of July holiday weekend. There have been 509 traffic fatalities in Illinois so far this year, which is an increase of 33 from one year ago. ISP recommends designating a sober driver to stay safe during the holiday weekend.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- 16th Congressional Congresswoman Mary Miller joined former President Donald Trump and other Republicans during a recent visit to the southern border. Congresswoman Miller said she wanted to see the situation firsthand.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- The Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Club will hold their tractor drive tomorrow. The group will leave Sibley around 9 and head to Gibson City where they will stop and visit with residents and the three nursing facilities before returning to Sibley that evening. Spokesperson Russ Tjarks says they will also be honoring several people during the drive…

 

 

Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Club Spokesperson Russ Tjarks.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- An iconic downtown building in Rantoul will be coming down. The village approved a bid to tear down the old First National Bank building. A demotion company was awarded a $147,000 contract to tear down the building.

 

(Penfield-jm) -- The 2021 Historic Farm Days gets underway next week in Penfield. The tractor show runs July 8th through the 11th and features Massey Ferguson, BF Avery and Minneapolis Moline. Show President Chuck Stelter anticipates a lot of people attending this year’s show…

 

 

I and I Historic Farm Days President Chuck Stelter.

 

 

 

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