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WPXN Blog Archives for 2021-08

A new state law kicks off a plan to remove all lead pipes in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Supreme Court on Monday amended an Order that extends the temporary stay on residential eviction trials and dispositive motions to September 18. The previous order was set to end on September 1. The change means the eviction moratorium stays in place, which bans landlords from evicting residents from their homes. The amended Order also includes provisions that exempt cases where rental assistance is clearly not viable and there is no reason to delay trial.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 10,066 new Coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths since Friday. Locally, Vermilion County reported 85 new cases, including 7 residents who have been reinfected, bringing their total number of cases to 11,478. Iroquois County reported 130 new cases bringing their total to 3,640. Champaign County reported 274 new cases bringing their total to 24,073. Ford County did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law kicks off a plan to remove all lead pipes in Illinois There are more lead lines bringing water into homes in Illinois than in any other state. The law sets a timetable and requirements for replacing those lines and was sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake…

 

 

State Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake. Too much lead in drinking water can cause behavioral problems and slowed growth in children and can cause premature birth in pregnant women. Besides the positive health effects, Bush says the law will create up to 11 thousand jobs.


(Gibson City-jm) -- An Illinois soldier is finally coming home. Army Private first class Clarence W. Brotherton of Gibson City was killed in World War II. He was unaccounted for until April 23, 2020. Brotherton’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Margarten, Netherlands, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. Brotherton will be buried on September 7 in his hometown.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Yesterday was the first day of the new mask mandate in Illinois. Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter says its not the only new mandate to come from the Governor in recent weeks…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- A Danville woman is dead following a single vehicle accident in Iroquois County. The accident happened on Route 49 at 1350 north south of Crescent City just before 12:30 Monday morning. An unidentified 22 year old female from Danville was pronounced dead at the scene. 3 others were taken to the hospital.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) --  A Rantoul man was arrested in Hoopeston for burglary and resisting arrest. Hoopeston police say they found 25 year old Daytan Davis in possession of what they believed to be stolen property. When they attempted to stop him, Davis fled on foot. He was apprehended and taken to the Vermilion County Jail.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn is advancing a little slower than usual as we hear in the weekly crop report. 65 percent of corn is in the dent stage, compared to 68 percent last year. Four percent is mature, behind the norm of 10 percent says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as five percent very short, 20 percent short, 70 percent adequate and five percent surplus. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 91 percent complete.

 

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at The Garage Community Center in Gilman today from 1-6 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly is set to return to Springfield today where they will consider a new maps proposal. This comes after new census data shows the maps approved earlier this year were significantly off. But that’s not the only topic lawmakers could vote on. There’s talk lawmakers could look at revisions to the ethics laws passed in the spring as well as taking up an energy bill.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Heading to the store? Make sure you bring your mask. The new indoor mask mandate is now in effect, and includes stores, restaurants, gyms and any other indoor public spaces. It was announced last week, with Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike saying masks work…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Governor J-B Pritkzer says masking is needed to help prevent further spread of the virus, which is again straining hospital resources.

 

(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.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Police are investigating a single vehicle rollover crash near Mahomet Monday morning. The accident happened on Route 150 between county road 125 East and West Oak Street. No injuries were reported.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Homes in Illinois sold twice as fast in July 2021 as they did last year, continuing a hot market that again drove median sales prices higher even as total statewide sales dipped slightly, according to data from Illinois Realtors. Homes sold an average of 24 days statewide in July 2021, compared to an average of 50 days in July 2020. Statewide home sales in July 2021 totaled 19,196 homes sold, down 1.0 percent from July 2020. The statewide median price in July 2021 was $263,000, up 12.6 percent from $233,500 in July 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn is advancing a little slower than usual as we hear in the weekly crop report. It was a hot week with temperatures more than six degrees above normal. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 88 percent of corn acres are in the dough stage or beyond…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 95 percent of soybeans are setting pods, which is about normal at this time of year. 71 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. 91 percent of the third cutting of alfalfa is now complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at five percent very short, 20 percent short, 70 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

 

A new mask mandate goes into effect today in Illinois

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,942 new Coronavirus cases and 14 additional deaths Friday. On Friday, Ford County reported 67 new cases. Vermilion County reported 112 new cases. Champaign County reported 124 new cases. Iroquois County did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers are holding hearings around the state in anticipation of this week’s special session on redistricting. New legislative maps have already been approved, but may need to be tweaked based on recently released census data. The public is invited to offer their thoughts about how districts should be drawn. Springfield Representative Tim Butler remains critical of the process, saying the new maps are drawn behind closed doors with no transparency…

 

 

State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield. Some who have already spoken at the hearings, including those representing minority communities, are urging lawmakers to slow down and wait for further census details to come out before new political boundaries. The special session will be held on Tuesday.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Three people suffered life-threatening injuries in a Thursday morning crash in Ford County.  A Friday press release from state police said this happened at about 7:45 a.m. Thursday. They said a 2007 Volvo was moving eastbound on 1200 North Road approaching the intersection of IL-115. At the same time, a 2016 Dodge was moving northbound on IL-115 at the intersection with 1200 North. Troopers said the driver of the Volvo was using a phone and failed to stop at a stop sign. The car continued eastbound and hit the Dodge. State police identified the driver and passenger of the Volvo as Juanita  Kesterson of Melvin and Joey Loveless of Melvin, respectively. Stephen Bloomstrand of Loda was identified as the driver of the Dodge. 

 

(Chebanse-jm) -- A Chebanse man has been arrested on child pornography charges. Alexander Hamilton was charged with possession of child pornography after state police executed a search warrant at his residence. Bond was set at $75,000.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A new mask mandate goes into effect today in Illinois. Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter explains the newest mandate…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Unemployment rates were down in July compared to one year ago. In Champaign County the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent. That’s down from 9.3 percent a year ago. In Ford County the unemployment rate went from 8.6 to 4.6. Vermilion County, 11.4 percent to 6.5 percent. Iroquois County went from 7.3 to 4.3.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A House task force reviewing statues and monuments in Illinois continues its work, with a look at erecting a salute to former President Barack Obama. The committee is discussing which statues should stay and which should be replaced. Last year, statues of Stephen Douglas and Pierre Menard were removed from the capitol grounds because both men were slave owners. Some suggest President Obama should be honored, since he served as an Illinois State and U-S Senator, and announced his candidacy for presidency in Springfield. Area Representative Tim Butler agrees…

 

 

State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield. Butler says others have suggested a statue of President Ronald Regan who was born in Illinois. Chicago Representative Mary Flowers stressed that they aren’t looking for perfect people to honor, but for monuments to tell the truth about history.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- A man whose body was found in a tanker truck near Buckley in June died of an overdose, authorities confirmed. Garrett Meyer of Nashville, Illinois had toxic levels of amphetamines and fentanyl in his system, according to autopsy results released by the Iroquois County Coroner’s Office. He also had a blood alcohol level of .181.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- An area insurance company is changing names but the service and people will remain the same. Abbe Insurance Owner Larry Abbe says they are now associated with Edge for their ag insurance side…

 

 

Abbe Insurance Owner Larry Abbe.

 

(Gibson city--jc)  Some good news about some federal help for flood victims in Ford County. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett has the details…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett

 

 

(Elliott-jm) -- Elliott village leaders are reviewing results of a recent water rate study. The study revealed the need to increase funds to pay engineering fees for current water main improvement project, paint the existing water tower and create a contingency fund for capital improvements. Village leaders are looking into the options.

 

Masks will once again be required in indoor public settings starting Monday

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Police and the Paxton Buckley Loda School District are investigating a threat made. The district sent out a notification to parents that around 7:15 last night district leaders were made aware of a threat circulating on social media.  The district says they don’t believe the threat is credible and school will be in session today. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton Police.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- All school staff and healthcare workers will have to be vaccinated under a new Illinois mandate. Teachers and school employees in grades pre-k through 12, as well as college staff will need to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 5th, or submit to at least weekly testing. The mandate also applies to healthcare workers, including those in public and private nursing homes, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Local health departments are already reporting at least 27 school outbreaks and hundreds of schools are being watched for possible virus exposure. 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health District has been anticipating the vaccine mandate from the Illinois Department of Public Health for a while now. The health department confirms multiple outbreaks in the school districts among teachers who are not vaccinated. The health department did not say which schools had the outbreaks, contact tracing and isolation rules are being shared with those impacted by the outbreaks.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top public health doctor says one of the biggest concerns right now is the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. At latest count, nearly 22 hundred Illinois COVID patients were in the hospital including 489 on ventilators. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says most hospitals are reaching capacity…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Region 4 is the Metro East area. Governor Pritkzer says in some parts of the state, there aren’t enough healthcare workers to handle the influx of patients.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Multiple libraries around the area are receiving per capita grants from the state. Cissna Park is receiving $2,693; Moyer District Library in Gibson City $7,967; Gilman-Danforth $4,472; Hoopeston $14,282; Loda Township $2,154; Mahomet $20,303; Melvin Community $896; Paxton Carnegie $6,597; Piper City $1,694; Rantoul $19,087 and St. Joseph Swearinger $8,667.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  The 20-21 Half Century of Progress is underway at the Rantoul airport.  On the grounds, you can see the Largest Flying American Flag that is presented by a veteran’s group from Gastonia North Carolina. Spokesperson Neal Lambert says they fly that flag all over the United States…

 

 

Gastonia North Carolina Veterans Group Spokesperson Neal Lambert.The Half Century of Progress continues through the 29th at the Rantoul National Aviation Center.

 

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

 

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

 

Christ Lutheran High School will hold their annual Knight for Christ benefit auction on Saturday starting at 4pm at the Ford County Fairgrounds in Melvin. Cost is $45. Call 217-394-2547 for more information or to make your reservation.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Masks will once again be required in indoor public settings starting Monday. The delta variant is spreading quickly and too many people still haven’t been vaccinated, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The mask mandate applies to everyone indoors, even those who have gotten their shots.The state reported 4,041 new cases and 59 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 47 new cases and 1 additional death. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Film buffs will have to wait a little longer for this year's Ebertfest. Roger Ebert's Film Festival officials say this year's event will be rescheduled because of a spike in COVID-19 variants. Now, they're pushing the festival to April 20-23 of next year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Senate lawmakers are discussing a bill taking aim at grooming and sexual abuse in schools. The legislation is named after Faith Colson, who was sexually abused by a teacher in 2001. She testified at a hearing about the need for school staff to be able better recognize potential problems…

 

 

Sexual abuse survivor Faith Colson. The bill will have the State Board of Education create a resource guide on the matter, and requires schools to set firm policies about appropriate conduct between staff and students. The measure passed the House in the spring but still awaits a vote in the Senate. Supporters hope that happens during the fall veto session.

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County area home sales in July reached a 14-year record high for the month, while median and average prices also reported price appreciation, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors. Closed residential home sales in July 2021 totaled 388, up 6.01 percent. The July median home sale price in the Champaign County area was $180,000, up 7.62 percent from $167,250 in July 2020. 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  --  the 20-21 Half Century of Progress Show continues today through Sunday at the Rantoul airport. Among the parades, vintage farm equipment, the largest U-S flag, field demonstrations and more you will also find vintage tractor pulling equipment. Tractor Pullers Reunion spokesperson Aaron Romine says they have some pulling tractors from around the state and nation at the Rantoul show…

 

 

Tractor Pullers Reunion Spokesperson Aarom Romine

 

The Half Century of Progress runs all day today and also full days on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is making his stance on school masking clear

(Springfield-jm) -- Two new laws update sex education in Illinois schools. Under the first law, schools that teach sex edu will have to use a revamped curriculum. Lessons will be for all grades and cover things like healthy relationships, violence, consent, gender identity, stds, sexual health, sexual orientation and communication, depending on the age of the students. It’s just too much, argued Representative Tony McCombie of Savannah on the House floor this spring...

 

 

State Representative Tony McCombie of Savannah. Supporters say students need this information to protect themselves and point out that parents can opt their kids out of the lessons. The second new law adds courses on the dangers of sexting to school curriculum.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will receive $7.5 million in bonds for capital improvement projects in the city. The bonds will be issued through Heartland Bank. $5.5 million will go towards the construction of the new pool while the other $2 million will go towards other projects.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Hudson Drug in Paxton will hold a COVID-19 vaccine clinic next week. The clinic will be held on Wednesday, September 1st from 3-5 pm at the Paxton firehouse. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson will be available. Visit hudson covid 19 dot com to sign up.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s historic clock tower recently received some upgrades. Mayor Bill Ingold says the upgrades helped preserve the structure for years to come…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- Hoopeston firefighters are investigating a suspicious fire. A police officer on patrol in the 100 block of W. Thompson found the fire and reported it. Fire crews came and extinguished the fire.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  --  The 20-21 Half Century of Progress Farm Show begins this morning. Gates open at 7, flag raising at 8am.  The grounds at the Rantoul airport will see field demonstrations, tractor parades, lots of food, the Band Baick Paiges and more. The 4 day event runs through Sunday at the Rantoul airport. WPXN will be broadcast live over the noon hour today as part of our summer fun tour.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is making his stance on school masking clear. Asked this week if he really would sanction schools that aren’t following the mask mandate, the Governor said, yes we are really going to do that…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says the good news is that some of the districts that have been put on probation are now complying.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda has secured funding for their new water tower. The village received a $550,000 grant. Anything over that will be covered by a loan from the state EPA.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On August 11th Trey Jean of Sibley was arrested for driving on a suspended license. On August 13th Andrew Lage of Gibson City was arrested for battery.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Christ Lutheran High School will hold their 17th annual Knight for Christ benefit auction Saturday at the Ford County Fairgrounds in Melvin. Spokesperson Larry Abbe talks about some of the items on the auction…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Knight for Christ Spokesperson Larry Abbe.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Paxton man is facing drug and weapons charges in Champaign County following a traffic stop in Urbana. Damian Wilson is charged with possession of meth and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Bond was set at $50,000.

Governor J-B Pritzker is warning that significantly stricter measures will be put back into place if COVID-19 numbers don't improve

(Springfield-jm) -- The Senate and House Redistricting Committees will hold a series of public hearings to consider potential changes to legislative boundaries following information recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. There will be at least seven hearings taking place through the end of this month.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is warning that significantly stricter measures will be put back into place if COVID-19 numbers don’t improve. With cases on the rise, the Governor says his office is looking at all options for again slowing the spread of the virus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor didn’t provide specifics but did say that could include something like the previous phases and statewide or regional restrictions. For now, he encourages everyone to wear a mask in indoor public settings. Illinois reported 2,989 new cases and 15 additional deaths. Locally, Vermilion County reported 98 new cases and 4 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 51 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Minneapolis-jm) -- The militia leader convicted of masterminding the bombing of a Minnesota mosque is asking a judge to legally acknowledge her transgender identity. Emily Claire Hari was previously known as Michael Hari from Clarence. Hari was found guilty last year of civil rights and hate crime charges in the bombing of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington in August 2017. Hari's attorney is asking a judge to sentence her to no more than the minimum 30 years in prison, not the life sentence that prosecutors requested. Sentencing is set for September 13th.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Ford County is receiving assistance from the Small Business Administration to help with flood damage in the Gibson City and Elliott areas. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the assistance available…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is partnering with Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka to put on several Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinics. The clinics will take every Wednesday morning starting this morning running through the month of September from 7-9 am.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Food prices continue to rise. Gary Crawford is here with the latest…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Numbers from the Illinois Department of Transportation show Black Illinoisans get pulled over 2.7 times more often than white Illinoisans in 2020. Those numbers according to the N double A C P have been steady over the past 15 years. Some communities including Champaign, Urbana and Bloomington are higher than the 2.7.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The woman accused of aggravated DUI in a crash that killed a University of Illinois Police lieutenant was in court on Tuesday. Logan Freed was arraigned on two counts of aggravated driving under the influence. Champaign Police say 25-year-old Logan Freed was driving westbound on Church Street on Sunday night when she disobeyed a traffic light causing a collision in the intersection with another vehicle. That vehicle was then forced into the southbound lane of Prospect Avenue and hit a motorcycle. U of I Police Lt. Aaron Landers was driving that motorcycle. He died Monday from his injuries.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Ford County is receiving assistance from the Small Business Administration to help with flood damage in the Gibson City and Elliott areas. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there are deadlines for applying for the relief and says there will also be help available in Gibson City for those who need it…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- More than 1,200 K-12 schools across the state have signed up to use the SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 saliva test for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. More than 650,000 students in Illinois will now have access to the test, pioneered by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Illinois Department of Public Health recently expanded access to free SHIELD testing to all K-12 public schools statewide outside of Chicago.

 

(Watseka--jc)  --  Several Covid 19 vaccines are set for Iroquois County. WPXN’s Tyler Robinson has the details…

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Retail prices for fresh fruit are coming down, but are still considerably higher than one year ago. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says he's hopeful more people will get vaccinated against COVID-19 now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer shot.

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s hopeful more people will get vaccinated against COVID-19 now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer shot. Formal federal approval may give those uncertain about the shot a nudge, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 61 and a half percent of those 12 and older in Illinois are now fully vaccinated. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 9,213 cases since Friday and 44 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate did fall to 5.9 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 255 new cases and 1 additional death since Friday. Vermilion County reported 92 new cases. Iroquois County reported 65 new cases. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign are celebrating the school’s successful Shield COVID-19 testing program. The groundbreaking saliva test created by the U of I provides quick results at a lower cost, used now in other countries and by large corporations, says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. While on campus, Governor Pritkzer also announced a major investment in completely restoring Altgeld Hall and replacing Illini Hall with a new facility that will house a data sciences center.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Several Paxton streets are getting upgrades. Mayor Bill Ingold has what streets are seeing the upgrades…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Governor JB Pritzker announced Monday that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state's request for assistance after severe flooding earlier this month. Low-interest, long-term loans through SBA will be available for home and business owners in Ford County, along with neighboring counties including Champaign, Iroquois, Vermilion, and McLean counties. A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be set up in Ford County at the Gibson City Fire Department to help people through the application process. The Center will open Thursday, August 26th, at 9 a.m. and remain open until September 9th.


 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is announcing a bird in the Gilman area has tested positive for west nile. The health department says it's the first case of west nile in the county so far this year. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a little warmer and drier over the past week as we hear in the latest crop report. Temps were about one degree above normal and rainfall was more than a quarter inch below. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 85 percent of corn has reached the dough stage or beyond and 50 percent has dented. Looking at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 87 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture declined to five percent very short, 31 percent short, 56 percent adequate and eight percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is kicking off a new highway interchange project in Champaign. The nearly 217 million dollar undertaking will rebuild the Interstate 57 and 74 interchange, which was originally constructed more than 50 years ago. IDOT Secretary Omer Osman says the new design will move traffic more efficiently and safely…

 

 

IDOT Secretary Omer Osman. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- An ethics complaint against the Pritzker administration continues despite reports a state agency apologized for opening an investigation into a school board member who opposes mandating masks in schools. State Senator Chapin Rose said the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation closed an investigation and apologized to his constituent, who is a doctor and a school board member. But, Rose said his ethics complaint about the matter has not been dismissed.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A new administrator at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign will advise school leadership on Native American issues. Jacki Thompson Rand was appointed by the associate vice chancellor for native affairs. Rand is a professor of history and a citizen of the Choctaw nation of Oklahoma.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a little warmer and drier over the past week as we hear in the latest crop report. The statewide average temp was about 75 degrees and rainfall averaged less than half an inch. 84 percent of soybeans are setting pods and the condition of the crop declined to 67 percent in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener turns to corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Less rain meant average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to five percent very short, 31 percent short, 56 percent adequate and eight percent surplus. 

Illinois Legislature will return to Springfield to redraw political districts

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Democrats said Friday the Legislature will return to Springfield to redraw political districts that will be used for legislative elections over the next decade, this time using data from the 2020 census. The announcement came as Republicans said census data released show the maps that majority Democrats approved and Governor J.B. Pritzker signed earlier this year amounted to an unconstitutional power grab.  The Legislature is scheduled for a one-day session on Aug. 31 to consider the new maps.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in Illinois. The State Department of Public Health is reporting 24,682 new and probable cases over the past week, including nearly 5,000 Friday alone. But, the number of people getting tested has been increasing as well. Hospitalizations have also been rising. Governor J-B Pritzker says the situation is concerning…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Every county in Illinois is now classified as at high risk for transmission of the virus. Locally Friday, Champaign County reported 89 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 90 new cases. Ford County reported 40 new cases. Iroquois County did not have a report Friday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law protects children with severe food allergies. The measure requires the State Board of Education and Public Health officials to come up with comprehensive guidelines for preventing and handling anaphylaxis in school children. This will also apply to daycares says Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Director Bill McCaffrey…

 

 

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Director Bill McCaffrey. The guidelines will cover how to reduce exposure to food allergens, identifying students with food allergies as well as training and emergency protocols.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County Board signed off on Sheriff Dustin Heuerman’s half-million-dollar request. The money was allotted to move 70 inmates from the downtown Champaign County Jail to other counties for the rest of the year, and some of it was set aside for a sign-on bonus for new corrections officers. The goal is to make conditions safer at the downtown jail and get over the worst staffing situation ever at both the downtown and satellite jails.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Two Rantoul men were arrested following a traffic stop on I-57 in Champaign County. State Police say 31-year-old Jermaine Bunch of Rantoul was the driver of a vehicle involved in a traffic stop, while the passenger was 29-year-old Dantaevious Washington of Rantoul. Both men were detained after authorities said "items of a criminal nature" were seen in plain sight in the vehicle. A handgun and illegal drugs were seized.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating several thefts recently. On August 14th a theft of a lawn mower was reported in the 400 block of East Pells. On August 13th, a wallet containing a drivers license, bank card and link card was reported stolen in the 600 block of West Pells, a cigarette lighter and $1 worth of change was reported stolen in the 800 block of South High Street and a 9 millimeter handgun was reported stolen from a vehicle in the 500 block of East Franklin. On August 8th a gas operated mountain bike from behind Paxton Public House on Market Street. On August 6th the theft of 2 x box game consoles, 3 controllers, a Turtle Beach headset and 4 pairs of Nike shoes were reported stolen in the 300 block of East Patton. Anyone with information on these thefts are asked to call Paxton Police.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan is announcing he will retire at the end of September. Hagan, who initially announced he would not seek re-election, announced September 30th will be his last day. Investigator Clint Perzee has announced his candidacy to replace Hagan.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is reminding claimants that federal unemployment programs are coming to an end on September 4. The programs include the $300 weekly supplemental payments.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to raise mental health awareness in Illinois schools. Under the law, ID cards for students in 6th through 12th grades as well as college will have information for those who are struggling, says bill sponsor, Naperville Representative Janet Yang Rohr…

 

 

State Representative Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville. The idea for the law was brought to Rohr by students from Naperville Central High School. It takes effect next summer.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The state agency that grants medical licenses issued an official apology and effectively closed an investigation that it opened into a Carle Hospital sports medicine doctor who also serves as an elected school board member in Mahomet. Dr. Jeremy Henrichs will no longer have to respond to questions asking if he would enforce Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate in his official capacity as an elected school board member. 

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County Board of Review is fully staffed, two months after all three former members quit. The board that handles property assessments for the county approved the final two members. The group can now hear appeals a month and a half into the filing period.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The U-S Census Department has released county level population changes between 2010 and 2020. Three of the four counties in the WPXN listening area saw a population decrease while one saw an increase. Iroquois County saw a population decline of 8.9 percent. Ford County saw a decline of 3.9 percent and Vermilion County saw a decline of 9.1 percent. Champaign County, however, saw a population increase of 2.4 percent.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Two Champaign County department heads are asking the county for more money. Coroner Duane Northrup and Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones are asking for more money due to an increase in gun violence. Northrup is asking for more money to hire two full time deputy coroners. According to Northrup, his office has handled 235 more calls from January 1st to June 30th than during the same time period last year.  Miller-Jones is seeking to hire 3 more attorneys and a full time legal secretary.

 

Republican state lawmakers are upset with Governor J-B Pritzker's executive orders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill signed into law on Thursday will require all Illinois public schools to teach about contributions made by Americans of different faith practices in history classes. Currently, the teaching of history in Illinois public schools must include the roles of African Americans and other ethnic groups. This legislation would emphasize the importance of contributions by Muslim Americans and other collective communities of faith in the state of Illinois. The bill also creates a new commemorative state holiday, declaring January 17 Muhammad Ali Day in Illinois.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 3,180 new Coronavirus cases. The seven day positivity rose back up to 6.2 percent. Champaign County was the only local county to report numbers Thursday adding 190 new cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Republican state lawmakers are upset with Governor J-B Pritzker’s executive orders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor recently issued another executive order which 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says is enough and the Governor needs to be stopped…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- There will be a drive-thru COVID-19 clinic today and tomorrow in Rantoul. The clinic will take place at the Rantoul Family Sports Complex. The hours are 9 to 7 today and 8 to 6 Saturday.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The State of Illinois is partnering with the American Red Cross to host a Multi-Agency Resource Center in Ford County this weekend to help residents recover from recent flash flooding. A Multi-Agency Resource Center is an all-encompassing hub for residents to access disaster related relief services and information. It brings together representatives from local and state agencies as well as essential support organizations. Residents affected by the recent storm can visit the Kruse Center located at 207 North Lawrence Street in Gibson City. The facility will be open on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

 

(Paxton--jc) The City of Paxton is helping out its fellow Ford County town of Gibson City with some crew members and trucks to help with clean up following a devastating  flood on the 12th of this month. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the local help was there yesterday and will be there again today…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The size of the Iroquois County board will be getting smaller. The county board approved reducing the size of the board from 20 to 16 by a 10 to 5 vote. The reduction will take place after the 2022 election and redistricting.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The 17th Annual Knight for Christ benefit auction benefiting Christ Lutheran High School will be coming up. Spokesperson Larry Abbe talks about the event…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Knight for Christ Spokesperson Larry Abbe.


(Washington-jm) -- What will be the market effects of the current gradual downsizing of the beef cattle herd? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The 2021 Cissna Park Old Settlers Reunion will take place today through Monday.

 

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

 

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

 

An electronics recycling will take place on Saturday from 9-1 at the Tri Point Junior High in Piper City.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Gold Star Mission on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate in Illinois continues to decline. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, in June, the statewide unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 7.1%. The U.S. average is 5.4% for the month.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department continues to push Coronavirus safety tips. Community Educator Megan Reutter provides some tips to keep you and your family safe…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- A Champaign County Sheriff’s Office employee is on leave after officers said he was arrested for a DUI. In a news release, Mahomet Chief of Police Michael Metzler said a rollover crash was reported around 1 a.m. on August 15. Mahomet officers as well as Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash on South Lake of the Woods Road at the I-74 overpass. When officers arrived, they found a pick-up truck on its roof. They said it was apparent the truck hit a guardrail and rolled over. A short time later, officers found 52-year-old Norman Meeker, Jr.. Metzler said the St. Joseph man was ticketed for DUI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and improper lane usage.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A man who incited a riot at Champaign's Market Place Mall has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.  Shamar Betts of Urbana had admitted to his actions that led to the riot. On the morning of May 31, 2020, days after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he made a Facebook post looking for people to show up for a riot. People were asked to bring "friends, family, posters, bricks, bookbags, etc." He was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  --  Some financial help for Gibson City homeowners is available from a local realtor group. Champaign County Association of Realtors spokesperson Mary Shaffer says grants up to 500 dollars can be applied for now through November…

 

 

Champaign  County Association of Realtors Spokesperson Mary Shaffer

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City has a new, but familiar face to the city council. Laura Miller was appointed on a 3 to 2 vote to fill the ward 4 vacancy by the retirement of Dennis Pardick. Miller previously served on the council.

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  Day 2 of the 20-21 Cissna Park Old Settlers celebration is today in the park, downtown Cissna Park. Music, Swyear Amusements, lots of food hilite the day says Cissna Park American Legion spokesperson Dick Swing…

 

 

Cissna Park American Legion Old Settlers Spokesperson Dick Swing

WPXN will be broadcasting the parade live on Saturday at noon.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Dairy operators are getting the benefits of the Dairy Margin Coverage program this year and may continue to do so in 2022.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The State Board of Education heard from officials and parents about the school mask mandate

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Board of Education is hearing from officials and parents about the school mask mandate at its monthly meeting Wednesday. Security was present at the crowded meeting, with many speakers calling for districts to be able to set their own policies. Others worried about children wearing a mask all day and how that would affect kids with allergies or disabilities. Some parents said they refuse to send their child to school with a mask. Westville Superintendent Seth Miller expressed concerns about enforcement…

 

 

Westville Schools Superintendent Seth Miller. At the beginning of the meeting, State Schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala said the board is taking the mandate very seriously and that masks are necessary to protect students, teachers and the community.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is getting ready to hire temporary snow plow drivers for the winter. IDOT calls them snowbirds, full time and on call drivers ready to clear the roads, says Spokesperson Maria Castaneda…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda. Applicants must have a CDL and undergo a criminal background check and will be selected based on experience and availability.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Carle Hospital is putting some rumors to rest after a social media post took off, saying the hospital was at capacity. They said, that’s not true. They have seen an uptick in coronavirus cases at their hospital in the last month, but they still have beds available for anyone who might need help.

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The 134th Old Settlers Celebration is set to begin today and run through Saturday in Cissna Park. A Talent Show hilites the entertainment tonight on the stage in the park. The annual parade steps off at noon on Saturday. WPXN will be broadcasting the parade live with Becky Puetz. Someone will also win a 20-21 new car on Saturday night. The event is sponsored by Cissna Park American Legion Post 527.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Residents who live with daily pain or who have difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities can get help from a free clinic at Parkland College starting next week. The Learning Information for Everyday Clinic, offered by the Parkland College Occupational Therapy Assistant program, provides individual consultation, modifications and assistive devices, and recommendations for simple strategies to conserve energy, perform daily tasks, and navigate activities better. Parkland will offer LIFE Clinic services Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9 to noon, during the fall semester. Call 217/353-2782.

 

 

(Piper City-jm) -- An electronics recycling will take place this weekend in northern Ford County. The recycling will take place on Saturday from 9-1 at the Tri-Point Junior High in Piper City.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Looks like soybean producers can expect another year of high demand for their crop, but will that translate into higher prices? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,833 new Coronavirus cases and 45 additional deaths Wednesday. The seven day positivity rate dropped point one percent to 6.1 percent. Vermilion County reported 68 new cases bringing their total to 10,987. Champaign County reported 150 new cases bringing their total to 23,062. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Applications are now being accepted for the state’s new 250 million dollar Back to Business assistance program. Small businesses can apply for the grants, ranging from five thousand to 150 thousand dollars to help cover operational costs, hire back employees and for other needs. Governor J-B Pritzker announced the program last week…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Those interested can visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website to get started.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Testing sites are seeing an increase in the number of people showing up to get tested for COVID-19. The testing site in Champaign went from testing about 100 people a day a month ago to 300 to 400 a day now. At the peak of the pandemic, the site was testing 600 a day. The testing center is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is a drive up, nasal swab test.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Republican Women will be holding a ceremony in Paxton coming to remember the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. Spokesperson Kim Evans talks about the event…

 

 

Ford County Republican Women Spokesperson Kim Evans.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- State Representative Mike Marron is opening a new office in Rantoul. The Rantoul office is located at 112 East Sangamon Avenue in downtown Rantoul. The office phone number is 217-499-0011.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The 22nd Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert, announced some of its films and guests for the 2021 event.  Directors Azazel Jacobs and Ramin Bahrani will appear at the festival’s screening of their recent critically acclaimed movies “French Exit” and “The White Tiger.” In addition, director Bobby Farrelly will appear with the cult comedy “There’s Something About Mary.” Ebertfest will be held September 8-11 at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  USDA is cutting its projections for how much soybean oil will be used for biodiesel production. Gary Crawford has why…

 

 

Public health leaders are pushing to stop the spread of false COVID vaccination information.

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is blaming the federal government after a financial audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security revealed benefits were improperly given out.  The audit revealed that unemployment benefits were paid to not only dead people and children, but also to people who never existed. Now, Pritzker is pointing his finger at the federal government saying their rushed unemployment programs did not give the state a way to pay benefits in a safe manner. But he said the $150 million in improperly paid benefits in Illinois are just a drop in the bucket of the money that got into the right hands of Illinoisans.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- At its heart, the Illinois State Fair is a celebration of agriculture. Agriculture is the state’s top industry, making an economic impact of about 19 billion dollars annually. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke at an ag day breakfast at the fair…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. Visitors to the fair can sample home grown products in the Illinois Department of Agriculture tent, check out horse and livestock shows, see the butter cow, watch pig races and see antique farming equipment.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,639 new Coronavirus cases and 16 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate rose to 6.2 percent. Vermilion County reported 41 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 10,919 and deaths to 159. Champaign County reported 49 new cases bringing their total to 22,912. Ford and Iroquois County’s did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Some bills sponsored by local state representative Tom Bennett have been signed into law by Governor Pritzker while others have not yet been signed. Representative Bennett talks about the bills…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An Urbana man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography charges.  Before the investigation into 32-year-old Brandon Knoff, Urbana police received five separate Cybertip referrals. According to a press release from prosecutors, three different social media and cloud storage applications reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an online social media user had transmitted content believed to be child pornography onto their servers.  Should Knoff be convicted, the offense of transportation of child pornography two counts carries a statutory penalty of at least five to 20 years in prison. For possession of child pornography, Knoff would face up to 10 years behind bars. 

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The 3rd Annual Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease will take place Saturday September 11th at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. Spokesperson Samantha Cox talks about the event and how to get signed up…

 

 

Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease Spokesperson Samantha Cox. Again that number is 217-249-1421.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Here’s the crop report for the week ending August 15th. According to Crop Statistician Steve Parn, 96 percent of soybeans are blooming and 80 percent are setting pods. That’s about on par with the five year average. Turning to corn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 82 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture stands at two percent very short, 12 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Less than half of the staff members with the Illinois Department of Corrections are vaccinated despite the mandate from Governor J-B Pritzker for all state workers in congregate care facilities to get the shot. With about seven weeks till the deadline IDOC staff members are only at 44% vaccinated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing new science related laws, honoring medical history and the importance of agriculture education. The measures add agricultural science and ag education classes as course options required to meet university admission standards. Senator Doris Turner of Springfield sponsored the change…

 

 

State Senator Doris Turner of Springfield. Another new law names Penicillium Rubens as the official state microbe of Illinois. It’s a nod to the work of an ag lab in Peoria, which was able to mass produce Penicillin in the 1940s.

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Public health leaders are pushing to stop the spread of false COVID vaccination information. Healthcare leaders say the spread of misinformation has caused some vaccine hesitancy. Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter says they offer information on their social media but they also recommend talking to your doctor if you have any concerns…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County residents that meet the criteria can now get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is encouraging certain fully vaccinated immunocompromised residents to get a booster shot. Those who are currently able to get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose in Champaign-Urbana must meet the following criteria: At least 28 days have passed after a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, advanced or untreated HIV infection or active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Older adults in Illinois will have better access to driver training programs that may cut their insurance costs, under a new law sponsored by State Representative Dan Brady of Normal. Brady says he was approached about the legislation...

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady of Normal.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois has announced a process for cracking down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards for the fall 2021 semester.  The U of I had announced it will require full vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff who are able to do so. With this, officials have become concerned about people on campus trying to get past this rule with a black market of fake CDC vaccine cards. The university has protocols in place to ensure both in-state and out-of-state students have real vaccine cards.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Here’s the crop report for the week ending August 15th. It was warmer and wetter than normal this past week, with 27 percent of corn now in the dent stage. Crop Statistician Steve Parn looks at soybeans…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. The third cutting of alfalfa advanced to 82 percent complete, and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated two percent very short, 12 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

Gibson City leaders approved spending 100 thousand dollars to help with recovery efforts

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 9,126 Coronavirus cases since Friday and 30 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate has risen to 6 percent. Locally since last week, Iroquois County reported 43 new cases bringing their total to 3,445. Vermilion County reported 148 new cases and 2 additional deaths, bringing their total number of cases to 10,878 and deaths to 158. Champaign County reported 219 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 22,863 and deaths to 165. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Four new state laws are designed to further protect Illinois seniors. One law extends the sale of the lottery’s Alzheimer’s scratch-off ticket which raises money for awareness and care. Another, hits close to home for Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, whose mom’s Alzheimer's went undiagnosed until it was at a very advanced stage…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. Another lets seniors take an online defensive driving course and still get a discount on their car insurance while the fourth ensures that residents of long term care facilities can speak virtually with family during a public health emergency.

 

 

(Rural Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a vehicle fire Monday. Crews were called to the fire on 500 North between 1 and 2 miles west of Paxton. No injuries were reported.


(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City leaders approved spending 100 thousand dollars to help with recovery efforts at a special meeting last night. Gibson City residents and businesses continue to recover from devastating flood waters from last Thursday.  The money comes from a special fund set up by local leaders. Those wanting to help residents and businesses can start by going on line at gibson-city-illinois-com-com

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- University of Illinois students are returning. Freshman started moving in yesterday. The rest will begin their transition back throughout the week. The first day of classes is August 23rd.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Older adults in Illinois will have better access to driver training programs that may cut their insurance costs, under a new law sponsored by State Representative Dan Brady of Normal. Brady talks about the measure..

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady of Normal.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is requesting a federal review of damage assessments in Ford County following last week's floods. The assessments, which are tentatively scheduled to begin on August 18, could provide the documentation necessary to support a request for federal assistance. 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- An area bank has made a donation to a school supply drive. Gifford State Bank recently donated $500 to Country Health and Rehab’s school supply drive to help purchase school supplies for area kids.

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest corn and soybean condition ratings compared unfavorably with the same time last year.  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of legislation to further honor and protect Illinois service members. One of the seven new laws means families of fallen National Guard soldiers killed in active duty will be presented with the American Flag while another reverses dishonorable charges that were issued because of a service member's sexuality, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Other new laws help expedite professional license applications submitted by service members or their spouses and require the POW/MIA flag to be flown at all state parks within five years.

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley has a new ordinance control officer. Terry Whitebird was hired for the position. Chris White, the village’s former police officer handled ordinance complaints up until he was fired earlier this year.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is one month into the new fiscal year which began July 1st. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about how the state has done so far…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Board will meet this afternoon for a special meeting where they are expected to issue a disaster declaration following flooding in the Gibson City and Elliott areas. Damage assessment crews spent the weekend in those communities assessing damage. Those with damage that did not receive a visit can call the Ford County Emergency Management Agencies Emergency Operations Center at 217-379-9498 or 217-379-9499.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A proposal passed by State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign requiring pharmaceutical companies to post a notice informing consumers that they may request current pharmacy retail prices at the point of sale was signed into law by Governor J-B Pritzker.  Customers will also be told the retail price of a prescription drug, both in writing and electronically, prior to purchase. 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A USDA report shows China's imports of U.S. agricultural products slowed down in June, but were still higher than a year ago. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  --  Cissna Park’s 134 annual Old Settlers celebration is set to begin later this week. The annual parade steps off on Saturday at noon. WPXN will be broadcasting the parade live with Becky Puetz as part of our Summer Fun tour.

 

Public health leaders continue to push vaccinations against the Coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to prevent hair discrimination in schools. The measure was inspired by Jett Hawkins, a Chicago preschooler who got in trouble because his braids violated the school dress code. That shouldn’t happen, says Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The law prohibits schools from restricting hairstyles that have been historically associated with race and ethnicity. It takes effect January 1st. 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Damage assessment crews were in Gibson City over the weekend. They were going door to door to collect data to try and get federal aid to the area devastated by flooding last week. Crews were also in Elliott. If you were flooded and were not visited by an assessment crew you can call the Ford County Emergency Management Agencies Emergency Operations Center at 217-379-9498 or 217-379-9499 between 9 and 5 through Tuesday.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Kejuan Coleman received the sentence in Champaign County court. Coleman admitted to having a loaded gun when he was arrested for possessing cannabis in Urbana.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Public health leaders continue to push vaccinations against the Coronavirus. Many schools will be returning to in person learning here in the next few weeks and Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter says that combined with the highly transmissible Delta variant, now is a good time to get vaccinated…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Two Iroquois County residents are among the winners of the state’s “Cream of the Crop” photo contest. Caroline Lee of Wellington came in first place in the My Life category for ages 8-10 and second place in the competitive cattle category for ages 8-10. Nolan Lee of Wellington came in first place in the Family Tradition category for ages 11-14.

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  The 134th annual Cissna Park Old Settlers Reunion is set for Thursday through Saturday in downtown Cissna Park. A Talent Show hilites the event on Thursday night. The Dixie Flyer band performs on Friday night at 7-30pm and the Mike Porter and Marsha Banning Show is on stage Saturday night at 8.  Swyear Amusements is on the midway all three days and someone will win a 20-21 Buick Encore on Saturday night. The annual Old Settlers parade steps off at noon on Saturday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A package of new state laws will help protect the mental health and physical wellbeing of first responders in Illinois. The changes include more options for sentencing Scott’s Law violators, a clarification that drivers need to slow down and move over when they see flashing lights on the side of the road and a new task force to study ways to prevent these crashes, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Another new law creates an online resource for first responders to get information about depression and anxiety, nutrition, suicide prevention and other topics.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul teen is one of 300 students nationwide to win a scholarship for volunteerism. Lovenya Perry received a $2,500 dollar scholarship from the Spherion Franchise Community’s Annual Sandy Mazur Awards. She’s volunteered for more than five-thousand hours of community service in the past four years. 

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- None of the recent cases of COVID infection from Champaign County residents came from Lollipalooza. Despite fears that the music festival, which saw more than 100,000 attend, would become a COVID superspreader event, health officials announced 203 cases were linked to it. Champaign Urbana Public Health officials encouraged people who attended to take the test. None of those that tested came back positive. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The 9th annual Paxton Swine n Dine will take place on Saturday, September 18th. Country singer Michael Ray will headline the music act that evening. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer talks about the bbq competition…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The village of Mahomet is opening a brokerage account with TD Ameritrade. The village decided to open the account to receive donations for various projects including upgrades to Barber Park. 


 

(Springfield-dg)-The hog calling contest took place at the State Fair. Kim Howard reports.

 

 

Heavy rains flooded area towns including Gibson City, Fisher, Rantoul, Elliott, Paxton and Ludlow.

(Gibson City-jm) -- Homes and businesses are drying out after almost a foot of rain fell in Gibson City yesterday. The heavy rain flooded a large portion of the town causing evacuations. Crews from Mahomet were called in to assist with the evacuations. A boil water order has been issued until further notice because of power being shut off to the water plant. Flooding was also reported in Paxton, Rantoul, Elliott, Ludlow and Fisher. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,114 new Coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 1,454,208 and deaths to 23,575. The seven day positivity rate rose to 5.8 percent. Locally, Vermilion County reported 83 new cases bringing their total to 10,659. Champaign County reported 64 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 22,551 and deaths to 164. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Farmer City-jm) -- An area group that supports law enforcement is hosting an event to show support for law enforcement. The Back the Badge event will take place tomorrow in Farmer City. The event will feature live music from Mitch Rossell (Rose-sell) with special guest Alexis Wilkins. Other bands performing will be 3 Gun Whiskey, the Thomas Tillman Band and Matt Poss Band. Organizer Matt Stuckey talks about his organization and the event…

 

 

Back the Badge Fest Organizer Matt Stuckey. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $30 for VIP. Officers can get in for free if they show their badge.

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Several Champaign County neighborhoods are being used for a research project, testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater. In January, a team from the University of Illinois launched a composite sample project that shows if there are high rates of detecting the virus in sewage water. During the Springtime, campus town was seeing high rates for the virus, and then also in Urbana. Right now, Rantoul is seeing a high rate of infection of the Delta variant.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Last week Governor J-B Pritzker made an announcement taking steps to slow the recent spike in Coronavirus cases. Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter details the Governor’s announcement…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Those needing help paying their utility bills have some assistance. The East Central Illinois Community Action Agency is offering energy assistance. Those in Ford County can go to the Paxton office located at 101 West Ottawa. Those in Iroquois County can go to the Gilman office at 219 North Central.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn and soybeans are up from the previous month - among the highlights from USDA's latest Crop Production Reports. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The 4th Annual Fisher Lucky Foot Festival will take place on Saturday, August 14th. Spokesperson Joe Wier talks about what you can expect at this year’s festival…

 

 

Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Champaign County Board listened to Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman's plea and is working toward several solutions to create a better corrections department. The Champaign County Board committed to improving a sign-on bonus for correctional officers and housing more inmates out of the county due to COVID-19 and low staffing issues. A final vote on the solutions will be made next week.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The first candidate has emerged for the Champaign County Executive position. Current Champaign County board member and board vice president Steve Summers announced he will run for the Democratic ticket for the position currently held by Darlene Kloeppel who announced she will not run for re-election.

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's forecast for corn production was a lot different from what most traders expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with Mid October this evening from 6 to 9 pm.

 

The 4th Annual Fisher Lucky Foot Festival will take place on Saturday with a youth run at 8:30, kids activities 9-noon, car show 10-3:30, bags tournament 1-5, live music with Tony Lindsay 2-6 and The Caleb Cook Band from 6-10. WPXN will be broadcasting live with Becky Puetz from 8-30 to 10-30 Saturday morning.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Class of 2024 on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

The Shop in the Park in Cissna Park will take place on Saturday from 9 to 1.

 

Back the Badge Fest will take place Saturday from noon to 10 pm at the Farmer City Raceway.

 

The Illinois State Police aims to increase the number of women in its ranks

(Springfield-jm) -- Superintendents around the state received a letter Wednesday from the Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala. In the letter, Ayala addresses Governor JB Pritzker's mandate for masks at all schools in Illinois, from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th Grade. She says local schools do not have the authority to refuse to comply with the governor's executive order on universal masking. Ayala states that any district that refuses to comply risks State recognition. This would lead to a total loss of access to state funding and loss of the school's ability to engage in any Illinois High School Association and Illinois Elementary School Association athletic competitions.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new initiative from the Illinois State Police aims to increase the number of women in its ranks. The goal of the 30 by 30 initiative is for recruit classes to be made up of at least 30 percent females by the year 2030. Women currently account for less than 10 percent of sworn law enforcement in the state police. Trooper Omoayean (oh-my-eenah) Williams says it’s a great career choice, no matter your gender…

 

 

Illinois State Police Trooper Omoayean Williams. Illinois State Police is now accepting applications. Visit illinois trooper dot com to get started.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,933 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Wednesday. Champaign County reported 90 new cases bringing their total to 22,487. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing the new 250 million dollar Back to Business Grant Program. The effort is aimed at small businesses hit especially hard during the pandemic, says the Governor, helping owners hire back staff and cover operating costs….

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Prizker. The grants range from five thousand dollars up to 150 thousand, and certain industries will be prioritized including bars and restaurants, hotels and arts businesses. The application process opens next Wednesday. More details are available online on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The official hotel of the University of Illinois won’t be available for guests as students return for class. 43 rooms at the Illini Union Hotel are being reserved for students in case they have to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test or quarantine after an exposure. The rooms will be reserved for isolation and quarantine through at least September 15. Around that time, the university will decide if it needs to be extended.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A fundraiser for Finn, a little boy from Gibson City with leukemia will be held this weekend. One of the activities is a cruise, says Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls…

 

 

Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda is increasing the fines for tampering with water meters. Village leaders approved raising the fine to $500 plus repair costs.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is launching a new portal to show proof of vaccination. The Vax Verify system lets users check their vaccination records and then show proof if necessary, says Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold. Vax Verify uses Experian to securely verify your identity. You can set up your account at: idph portal dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow. The 2021 butter cow was once again sculpted by Sarah Pratt of Iowa and features a girl embracing the bovine. There are 13 hearts hidden throughout the sculpture, representing the 13 essential nutrients found in milk. State Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello…

 

 

State Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello. All the butter used is home grown, from dairy farms in Illinois. The butter cow is located in the dairy building. The state fair runs through August 22nd.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Ameren Illinois is awarding Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County a grant to support the construction of their fall home build. Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County helps families' dream of homeownership come true through the Local Home Build Program. The grant funds were made possible through the Ameren Cares Program, which connects Ameren to its communities through charitable acts of giving and volunteering.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers failed to pass energy legislation during the spring session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has the latest…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Sibley’s water improvement project is estimated to cost more than expected. The village learned the project exceeded the Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies loan ceiling by $167,000. Half of the loan will be forgiven while the village will have to pay the other half back over 20 years.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is stressing the importance of the state's school mask mandate

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is stressing the importance of the state’s school mask mandate. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a downstate Clinton County parent over the mandate, which requires all students and school staff to wear a mask indoors whether or not they’ve been vaccinated. Governor Pritzker responds…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor points out that a school mask mandate has been in place before in Illinois. When asked by reporters about enforcing the rule, he said schools have had dress codes for years and this should be no different.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,950 new Coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths. The 7 day positivity rate is up to 5.7 percent. Champaign County reported 54 new cases. Vermilion County reported 146 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 80s. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law makes it easier for educational support staff to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Governor J-B Pritzker signed the legislation, lowering the threshold of hours worked that must be met to be eligible for the FMLA from 12 hundred 50 to one thousand over the past year…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law takes effect January 1st and applies to staff ranging from secretaries and teacher’s aides to maintenance and cafeteria workers at Illinois K-through-12 schools, community colleges and universities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois state leaders are hoping to revitalize the hard-hit tourist industry by using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for a new $10 million grants program aimed at bringing back new and returning tourism attractions and festivals to the state. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted with awards made quarterly and the department will have the ability to fund applications most closely aligned to eligibility criteria approved for immediate funding.

 

(Farmer City-jm) -- Back the Badge Fest will get underway this Saturday in Farmer City. The festival is put on by Back the Blue of Champaign County and will feature live music from Mitch Rossell (Rose-sell) with special guest Alexis Wilkins. Other bands performing will be 3 Gun Whiskey, the Thomas Tillman Band and Matt Poss Band. Organizer Matt Stuckey talks about how you can get your tickets…

 

 

Back the Badge Fest Organizer Matt Stuckey.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies have made five firearms-related arrests and seized six illegally possessed firearms over the weekend. On Saturday, August 7, Deputies were called to the 100 block of Fountain Valley Rantoul Township around 4:30 a.m. for a report of armed suspects inside of a home. Then later on Saturday night around 11:24, sheriff's deputies stopped a vehicle at the intersection of Country Fair Drive and University Avenue in Champaign, where they spotted open alcohol. After searching the vehicle, officers discovered a pistol. The driver was arrested for unlawful use of a weapon. The next day, on Sunday, August 8 at 1:51 a.m., officers responded to a report of a fight in the area of Crispus Drive and Bradley Avenue in Champaign. While investigating the fight, deputies encountered Ramesh Hill, who was later identified as the suspect in Urbana Police Department’s shooting that had just occurred in the 1300-block of Romine. Sheriff’s deputies also identified an unoccupied vehicle possibly associated with the suspects involved in the fight. Deputies seized two firearms from the vehicle that were in plain view.

 

 

(Wisconsin-jm) -- A St Joseph man is dead following a crash in Wisconsin. Authorities say 87-year-old Frederick Schultz, of Columbus died at the scene of the crash on Highway 151 in the Dodge County town of Beaver Saturday afternoon. The initial investigation shows Schultz was driving a van northbound in the southbound lanes and collided with a car head-on. The 68-year-old driver of that car, Richard Wagner, of Saint Joseph, Illinois and a 53-year-old passenger, Melissa Rees, of Terre Haute, Indiana were taken to University Hospital in Madison. Rees died while being transported. Wagner died later.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Last week Governor J-B Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all k through 12 students in the state. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the Governor’s mandate…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Those looking for a job can attend a job fair this Thursday. The job fair is being put on by the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce at the new Rantoul Family Sports Complex from 9 to 1.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U.S. is importing more food and agricultural products than ever. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Participants of a special House hearing on COVID-19 discussed how misinformation is a leading cause of vaccine hesitancy. There are some people who just aren’t going to get vaccinated, while others are still on the fence, concerned about things they have heard about the shot, says Chicago Representative Mary Flowers…

 

 

State Representative Mary Flowers of Chicago. State and local public health officials testifying at the hearing urged those with concerns to talk to their primary care doctor. They say some common misnomers about the vaccine are that it may cause infertility and that it should not be given to those with underlying conditions like cancer or HIV. Health experts say neither are true.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A fundraiser for a little boy with leukemia will be held this weekend in Gibson City. Just an Angel, an area non-profit is helping with the fundraiser. Spokesperson Dale Puls talks about the event…

 

 

Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Starting August 16, eligible families can get help with their energy bills in Champaign County. Officials with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission said people can make appointments to apply for LIHEAP. This year, not only can you make your appointment at the organization’s main office in Urbana, but also their new location at 2009 Round Barn Road in Champaign. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Just in time for this heat wave, C-U at Home reopened some services on Tuesday. The Phoenix Daytime Drop-In Center is back to normal hours. Overnight shelter services will re-open on Monday, August 16 at the C-U Men’s Shelter and C-U at Austin’s Place Women’s Shelter.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Buckley Loda students and staff can get their COVID vaccine this week. It’s being put on by the Ford County Public Health Department…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On August 2nd James Kennedy of Gibson City was arrested for aggravated assault. On August 4th Josh Roush of Bloomington was arrested for possession of over 100 grams of cannabis, possession with intent to deliver cannabis and driving on a revoked license.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- We are just hours away from getting a much better idea of the size of this year's major row crops and what kind of demand there will be for those crops. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Dangerous heat and humidity is affecting the WPXN listening area today

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating two shootings in the village in two days. Sunday a 16 year old girl was shot and received a head wound on Harmon Drive. She remains in the hospital. Last night police were called to a shooting on Abram Drive.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Since Friday, Illinois has seen an additional 7,858 Coronavirus cases and 29 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate rose to 5.6 percent. Iroquois County reported 57 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 3,402 and deaths to 66. Champaign County reported 220 new cases and 2 additional deaths  bringing their total number of cases to 22,343 and deaths to 162. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law expands the state’s Secure Choice Savings Program. Starting next year, small businesses with five or more employees that don’t offer any sort of retirement program must enroll their staff in Secure Choice, a state-run retirement option. The current threshold is 25 or more workers. The change was sponsored by Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago…

 

 

State Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago. Employees can opt out of Secure Choice and save on their own. Businesses will need to fully implement the new law by September of 2023.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Dangerous heat and humidity is affecting the WPXN listening area today. A heat advisory is in effect today as heat index values are expected to be 100 to 110. There is also a chance of storms this afternoon, some of which could be severe.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County residents are once again having issues with their NOAA (noah) weather radio. The National Weather Service says the radio is operating intermittently on reduced power. They don’t have an estimated time for when it will be fixed. Those in the northern part of the county can use the weather radio from Crescent City station number K-X-I-86.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Multiple village and city councils around the area meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village trustees will consider hiring a social worker to the police department, approve a bid to resurface Congress and Sheldon, consider sidewalk improvements along U-S 136, consider two grants for Heritage Lake improvements and approve a redevelopment agreement for the former Knights Inn location. Also at 6, the Vermilion County board will hear a presentation on the Mural Wind Farm and discuss uses for American Recovery Act money. At 7 in Paxton, city council members will hear an update on motor fuel tax work, consider a distillery ordinance and draft a proposal for drainage issues. Also at 7, the St. Joseph village board will meet where trustees will hear an update on sewer projects.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Mahomet’s downtown facade grant program will be receiving a boost. The village board approved adding additional funds to the program. The boost will allow an additional $5,000 to $10,000 per location.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- After seeing Monday's USDA Crop Progress report, grain markets are now anxiously awaiting USDA's upcoming survey-based forecasts for crop yields and production. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State and local public health officials are giving House lawmakers an update on COVID-19 vaccination progress and the delta variant. More than 59 percent of the Illinois population 12 and older is now fully vaccinated. Attempts to get more people their shots continue, with communities having to get creative with their efforts. That includes offering the vaccine at churches, laundromats and flea markets and having “ambassadors” talk to people about the vaccine. Chicago Public Health Department Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady says they are offering house calls as well…

 

 

Chicago Public Health Department Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady. Arwady also talked about how while they expect some COVID cases to arise as a result of Lollapalooza, the event also got more young people to get the shot since it was required to enter.

 

(Peoria-jm) -- A Loda man is dead following a crash in Peoria County. The Peoria County Coroner’s office says Ian Nemeth died after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle head on Saturday afternoon. 

 

(Loda-jm) -- A walk to raise money for Huntington’s Disease research will be held at Lakeview Country Club in Loda coming up in September. The walk will take place on Saturday, September 11th starting at 8 am with a golf outing and other activities taking place throughout the day. Spokesperson Samantha Cox explains Huntington's Disease..

 

 

Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease Spokesperson Samantha Cox. Contact Samantha Cox at 217-249-1421 for more information.

 

(Washington-jm) -- There is a mixed picture for corn and soybean conditions this week.  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland Colleges Aviation School has released their summer flight credentials. Remy Smith of Rantoul and Nathan Smith of Mahomet both received their credentials for the first time solo. Zeth McCloud of St. Joseph received their credentials for instrument airplane rating. Daniel Wyckoff of Buckley received his credentials for flight instructor instrument.

 

Mask up, if you're headed to the State Fair

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite some breakthrough cases, the state’s top public health doctor says the vaccine is still your best bet against COVID-19. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Eizke says getting your shot can make a world of difference when it comes to the severity of infection, even against the Delta variant…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. There have been 714 breakthrough hospitalizations and 180 deaths. That’s out of more than six million vaccinated Illinoisans.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,040 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths. The state’s 7 day positivity rate is up to 5.2 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 69 new cases. Vermilion County 29 new cases. Ford County 32 new cases. Iroquois County did not have a report Friday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fair is taking a number of COVID-19 precautions this year, based on CDC guidelines. Mitigations include requiring masks in all indoor public buildings like the Coliseum, Illinois Building and the Livestock Center. Everyone going to a grandstand concert will also have to wear a mask, and those on the track will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. It’s about keeping people healthy, says Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello. Officials also recommend fairgoers wear a mask in large groups, like at the Twilight Parade. The fair runs August 12th through the 22nd in Springfield.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The two suspects wanted for a robbery in Wisconsin remain in the Ford County Jail awaiting extradition. Brandon Taylor and Manne Willis, both of Texas, are charged with robbery of a financial institution and robbery for allegedly robbing a bank in Racine, Wisconsin Wednesday. The two led State Police on a chase, where they fled on foot in Roberts. Both were apprehended later Thursday morning.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Carle Health is requiring all of its team members to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Effective immediately, those who are not vaccinated are being asked to complete a COVID-19 vaccine form and comply with additional safety requirements on an ongoing basis. Over 70% of the health system’s more than 11,000 team members have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest complete trade data available is for June. The numbers show June was a remarkable month for exports of agricultural products. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are hearing from Illinois colleges and universities about plans for the fall amidst COVID-19 concerns. Most schools are requiring all students and staff to be vaccinated. Those that can’t be will have to be tested regularly. The vaccine is not mandated on Southern Illinois University's two campuses, but is strongly encouraged, says SIU System President Dan Mahoney…

 

 

SIU System President Dan Mahoney. Some schools, like Western Illinois University, are setting aside dorm space for students to quarantine if needed and limiting rooms to either singles or doubles. Many colleges are also offering free vaccine clinics and are maintaining sanitization protocols.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Champaign County Sheriff’s Office Deputy is being honored as one of the best this year. Investigator Deron Brize was revealed as the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year. Deputy Brize started as a patrol deputy in 2015.

 

(Farmer City-jm) -- An area law enforcement group will be honoring officers and giving the public a chance to show their support. Back the Blue Champaign County will be hosting a Back the Badge Fest in Farmer City this weekend. Organizer Matt Stuckey talks about the music lineup for the festival…

 

 

Back the Badge Fest Organizer Matt Stuckey. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $30 for VIP. Officers can get in for free if the show their badge.

 

(Washington-jm) -- U.S. agricultural products are doing very well in world markets and doing better than some had expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The state's I-Cash program returned 226 million dollars in unclaimed property during the last fiscal year

(Springfield-jm) -- Forty percent of deer across parts of the Midwest and Northeast are testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested deer for COVID-19 antibodies in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York. The results found that 7% of those tested in Illinois had been exposed to the virus, 31% in New York, 44% in Pennsylvania, and 67% in Michigan.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported over 3,000 new Coronavirus cases Thursday. The seven day positivity rate has risen to 5.2 percent. Vermilion County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 10,401. Champaign County reported 86 new cases bringing their total to 22,054. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s I-Cash program returned 226 million dollars in unclaimed property during the last fiscal year. The property went to an estimated 174 thousand people, with the average claim coming in around one thousand dollars, says Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs, whose office runs I-Cash…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs says it’s easy to search the I-Cash database to see if you have any outstanding money or items. Visit: illinois treasurer dot gov slash icash to get started.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A popular Gibson City restaurant is closing at the end of the month. The owners of the Bayern Stube announced after 30 years they will be serving their final meals on Sunday, August 29th. 


 

The 3rd Annual Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease will take place

Saturday September 11th at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. The Walk starts at 8am with check in from 7-7:30am. The goal is to have 300 walkers. If you want to be guaranteed a t-shirt, you need to be signed up by Monday. There also will be raffles, a kid’s corner and food. Contact Samantha Cox at 217-249-1421 for more information. If you don’t want to walk, but still would like to donate, you may do so. Raffle items are also needed.


 

(Urbana-jm) -- A teenager accused of running away from police this week has been officially charged. 19 year old Patrick Briggs was one of four people arrested after shots were fired at a house in Rantoul. They tried to run away, but were later arrested on a golf course.  Briggs was charged with various gun crimes and vehicle hijacking, among other charges in court on Thursday. The Champaign County state’s attorney said it is likely what happened in Rantoul was retaliation to a deadly shooting in Urbana this week. Briggs’ mother, Johanna Cowart-Williams, was killed and his girlfriend was paralyzed.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton is adding a camera system to the city building. Mayor Bill Ingold says its a security issue…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month this August. Vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent disease. Appointments are available Monday through Friday 9 to 3:30.


 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA will soon begin two new market news reports that are designed to boost price transparency in cattle markets. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Gibson City will host their Friday Night Fun Cruise Night tonight from 6-9 pm with Warrant performing live music downtown at 8.

 

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

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the St. Mary’s CCW on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

The Gibson Area Music Foundation will host their Hymn Festival on Sunday at 3pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report from national business leaders and plumbing groups breaks down the cost of replacing every single lead-lined water pipe in the nation. The report was conducted by Environmental Entrepreneurs and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters. It shows that Illinois has more lead pipes than any other state in the nation, with just under 680,000 known, plus another 782,000 potential lead lines. The good news is that the new report estimates that the nationwide replacement program will create over 6000 indirect or direct jobs in Illinois alone, with more than half of those in construction.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported over 3,000 new Coronavirus cases Thursday. The seven day positivity rate has risen to 5.2 percent. Vermilion County reported 20 new cases. Champaign County reported 86 new cases. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of legislation to increase access to feminine hygiene products in Illinois. The first new law addresses “period poverty” and gets the state ready to act should the federal government start allowing these products to be purchased with “SNAP” and “WIC” benefits, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The other two laws require colleges and universities to have feminine hygiene products in all campus bathrooms and homeless shelters serving women and youth will have to provide tampons and pads for free.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet village board has a new member. Rebecca Preston replaces Don Lynn who retired from the board.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul approved implementing 10 license plate readers just over two months ago to help reduce violence in the village. Since then the cameras have been proved useful in apprehending suspects in two shootings. The first shooting occurred July 4th and injured five people including two kids. One suspect was arrested less than a week later. The second suspect was arrested earlier this week. The other shooting occurred earlier this week. The four suspects in that case were arrested less than an hour after the incident occurred.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Local reaction is rolling in over Governor J-B Pritzker’s announcement of a mask mandate for kids in grades k through 12. Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady of Normal…

 

 

Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady of Normal.

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- in updating our story from yesterday, the search for two bank robbery subjects concluded around noon on Thursday in the Buckley and Roberts area.  Illinois State Police used helicopters and conducted a foot search with police dogs   Wednesday night into Thursday as they were  searching for two suspects wanted in a bank robbery in Racine, Wisconsin that occurred on Wednesday. Wisconsin police put out an alert on the vehicle. That vehicle was spotted on I-57 and led police on a chase along Interstate 57. The vehicle was stopped and the two suspects ran away on foot. They were both arrested on Thursday. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- How much of your 2020 income do you think went to buy food? The answer may surprise you. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all students and staff in preschool through 12th grade

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a mask mandate for all students and staff in preschool through 12th grade. The requirement, even for those who have been vaccinated, comes as COVID-19 cases are increasing and some school districts are opting not to follow CDC guidance about masking, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The mask mandate also applies to daycares and indoor school sports. Additionally, masks are now required in all long term care facilities in Illinois.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions are quickly increasing. It’s very concerning, says Governor J-B Pritkzer, who is especially urging teens and young adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. More than 11 hundred Illinois COVID patients were in the hospital, including 246 in the ICU. Back in January, kids under 10 accounted for five and a half percent of COVID cases, compared to 15 percent in July. Locally, Vermilion County reported 56 new cases bringing their total to 10,381. Champaign County reported 52 new cases bringing their total to 21,968. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Wednesday.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) --  Police believe a shooting in Rantoul Tuesday is connected to a shooting in Urbana that left one person dead. One of the suspects accused of shooting at a home in Rantoul, Patrick Briggs, is the son of a woman that killed in a shooting in Urbana earlier that morning. Authorities believe the shooting was retaliation for the Urbana shooting.

 

(Rural Paxton-jm) -- The owners of a bed and breakfast near Paxton are taking their appeals to the U-S Supreme Court in hopes of stopping the sale of the property. A judge ordered the owners of the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast to turn over the deed to the property to Mark and Todd Wathen after the owners refused to pay over $81,000 in fines after the Illinois Human Rights Commission found the bed and breakfast allegedly violated Wathen’s rights to host a civil union ceremony on the property. Timber Creek Bed and Breakfasts owners sought an appeal with the Appellate Court and state Supreme Court but both refused to hear the case. The Wathen’s and the ACLU, which represented the couple, plan to move forward with the public auction of the property in September.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The 4th Annual Fisher Lucky Foot Festival will take place on Saturday, August 14th. Spokesperson Joe Wier talks about what you can expect at this year’s festival…

 

 

Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier.

 

Gibson City will host their Friday Night Fun Cruise Night on Friday, August 6th from 6-9 pm with Warrant performing live music downtown at 8.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State workers in certain positions will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under a new order. Employees at state veterans homes, correctional facilities, developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals are now required to get the shot, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Workers in these facilities have until October 4th to be vaccinated.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Construction on the Ford Ridge Wind Farm near Sibley is underway. Crews have begun roadwork in anticipation of the project. Apex Clean Energy, the developer of the wind farm, hopes to have the 45 turbine wind farm in operation in February.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- A house in Loda was heavily damaged following a fire Wednesday morning. Crews from Paxton Buckley and Loda were called to the fire on West Jackson Street just after 6 am. When they arrived they found smoke and flames coming from the home. An investigator from the state fire marshal's office was at the scene. No injuries were reported.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton has a new alderman. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the addition to Ward 2…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Freedom Fridays Live Music with Tyler from Unemployed Architects on Friday, August 6th from 6 to 9 pm.

 

New COVID-19 cases in Illinois Tuesday hit the highest daily total since early May

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are releasing more information on a shooting that happened in the village Tuesday morning. Police were called to the 600 block of Autumn Fields Lane just before noon. When they arrived they found a house that had been struck by gunfire. Witnesses told police a small white vehicle pulled up in front of the residence and opened fire. New cameras in the area identified the vehicle and officers sent out that description. A Champaign County deputy spotted the vehicle trying to get on I-74 at Urbana. Four suspects jumped from the vehicle and were apprehended at the Urbana Country Club golf course. 19 year old Patrick Biggs of Urbana, 22 year old Williams Laws of Atlanta Georgia, 20 year old Teron Laws of Atlanta Georgia and a 15 year old were arrested and charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and vehicular invasion.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The second suspect involved in a July 4th shooting in Rantoul that left five people injured including two kids has been arrested. A 16 year old has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a firearm. Police say the 16 year old and 18 year old Teigan Hunt of Urbana allegedly fired shots at a group of people on South Maplewood Drive on the 4th. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New COVID-19 cases in Illinois Tuesday hit the highest daily total since early May. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,6682 new and probable cases, a level not seen since May 7th. But more people have been getting tested and vaccinations are increasing as well over the past week. Governor J-B Pritzker repeated his call for people to be cautious…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Nearly 59 percent of the Illinois population age 12 and up is now fully vaccinated. All but seven counties are currently at “substantial” or “high” levels of virus transmission.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The man accused of killing a local 14-year-old boy was in court again on Tuesday. Daryl Vandyke was arraigned on three counts of first-degree murder involving an axe or edged tool. Police say he killed Steven Butler III after the boy was reported missing late last week. Vandyke is being held on a $2 million bond. He is due back in court September 14th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest USDA Agricultural Prices Report reflects producers as a whole receiving more for their commodities in June. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On July 27th, Brett Thomas of Fisher was arrested and charged with possession of hypodermic needles and driving while license suspended. On July 29th, Grace Dieu of Gibson City was arrested for domestic battery. On July 31st, Juanita Kesterton of Melvin was arrested for DUI and improper parking on a roadway.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda Hall of Fame will induct two members next month. Robert Frump and the late Harold Eugene Kenny are the latest to be inducted. They were supposed to be inducted last year but because of the pandemic, the induction was pushed back. Frump is an author and journalist. Kenny is a former U of I Wrestling Coach. The induction ceremony will take place in September.

 

(Washington-jm) -- If you got a USDA yield survey, you were not chosen at random. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County deputies responded to 14 traffic accidents during the month of July. Deputies issued 7 citations for speeding, 5 for failure to reduce speed, 4 for DUI, 2 each for leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended or revoked license and construction zone speed limit violation and 1 each for improper lane usage, failure to report an accident and not wearing a seatbelt. Deputies also responded to 9 domestic issues, 8 suspicious activities, 4 custody disputes, 3 reports of harassment and 1 each of trespassing, abuse, fight in progress, theft and stolen vehicle.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is helping residents sign up for Fall 2021 classes both at the campus and virtually through a one-stop enrollment services event. The Fall Enrollment Blitz will run August 11th through 20th 8-5 at the student union.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing reform to state firearms laws

(Iroquois County-jm) -- One person is dead and three others were taken to the hospital, two of which with life threatening injuries, following an accident on I-57 in southern Iroquois County Monday morning. Illinois State Police say a vehicle was traveling southbound when it went off the road and overturned several times. The driver was ejected and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two passengers were taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries. A 17 year old juvenile was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing what he calls the most comprehensive reform to state firearms laws in over a generation. The FOID Modernization bill lets the state police create a combined FOID and concealed carry license and grants card holders who submit their fingerprints automatic renewal. The Governor says there are safety provisions as well, such as universal background checks on all gun sales in Illinois starting in 2024…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The measure also requires the Illinois State Police to remove guns from those with revoked FOID cards and creates a stolen gun database.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois law will soon allow victims of sexual crimes to renew orders prohibiting contact by their assailants without having to face them in court. A law signed makes civil orders of no contact with survivors permanent in cases where the perpetrator was convicted. Current law requires sexual-assault survivors to face their assailants in court every two years to renew no-contact orders.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of legislation to further protect immigrants and refugees in Illinois. One new law makes it a civil rights violation for employers to harass or refuse to hire an employee on the basis of work authorization status. Another, sponsored by Senator Jacqueline Collins of Chicago, tackles violence…

 

 

State Senator Jacqueline Collins of Chicago. Other new laws make Illinois the second state in the nation to require local officials to end partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and create a task force on immigrants and state services.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Since Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 5,608 new cases. The seven day positivity rate is 4.9 percent. Vermilion County reported 75 new cases. Iroquois County reported 42 new cases. Champaign County reported 151 new cases. Champaign County also recorded their 160th death. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Champaign County Recorder of Deeds Mike Ingram warns Champaign County residents of a rash of scam letters posing as false official-sounding agencies. According to Ingram, the letters originate from fake-but-trying-to-sound-official places like "Local Records Office" in Pekin or "Records Recovery Services" in Naperville, do not appear to attempt to phish any information from homeowners. Instead, the scam is believed to be an attempt by the sender to insert themselves between the Recorder's office and the homeowner to make some quick money. Scammers use publicly available information about your property to seem official and then ask for a sum of money for a copy of your deed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions improved slightly as we hear in the weekly crop report. There were nearly six days available for fieldwork this past week, and temps and rainfall were about normal. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 96 percent of corn is silking…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 87 percent of soybean acres are blooming and 59 percent are setting pods. 67 percent of the soybean crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at three percent very short, 14 percent short, 76 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

 

OSF St. James-John Albrecht Medical Center’s Diabetes Support Group will meet tonight from 6-7 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing what he calls the most comprehensive reform to state firearms laws in over a generation. The new law streamlines the FOID card process, not requiring fingerprints, but granting those who do submit their prints automatic renewal. State Police Director Brendan Kelly says it also combines the FOID and concealed carry license into one card…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The law also creates a stolen gun database and in 2024, will require background checks for all gun sales in Illinois.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Diabetes prevention and management programs are set to be eligible for Medicaid coverage in Illinois, pending final federal approval, Governor J-B Pritzker's office said. The programs involved are the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program. Illinois leaders said CDC-recognized DPP organizations can enroll as Illinois Medical providers to deliver the program to eligible participants by administering services during regular sessions over the course of the year. This includes dietary counseling, fitness assessments and educational sessions on how to prevent Type 2 diabetes. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is kicking off the annual “Wave Away the Waiting” minority organ donor campaign. This year, the event is virtual, with educational materials posted online says Secretary White’s Spokesperson, Beth Kaufman…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, people of color make up 54 percent of the waiting list nationally, but account for only 35 percent of donors. You can learn more about the campaign at: life goes on dot com.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The man accused of killing a 14-year-old boy in Champaign is set to be arraigned today. Daryl Vandyke is accused of killing 14-year-old Steven Butler III. Butler's body was found by two bicyclists riding in the 3400 block of East Washington Street. Prosecutors allege Vandyke killed Butler by hitting him repeatedly with an axe or an edged tool. He’s charged with three counts of first degree murder. Vandyke is being held on a $2 million bond.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions improved slightly as we hear in the weekly report. 96 percent of corn acres are silking and 49 percent are in the dough stage. 68 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The second cutting of alfalfa hay is nearly complete and 54 percent of the third cutting is done. Average statewide topsoil moisture comes in at three percent very short, 14 percent short, 76 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

 

 

 

The National Weather Service is launching new weather warning categories

(Springfield-jm) -- COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the number of cases has increased by 46 percent over the past seven days and hospitalizations are up by 35 percent. Governor J-B Pritzker was asked if restrictions would again be imposed…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Masks are now required in all state facilities, the state capitol and the d-m-v. The latest figures from the CDC show more than 58 percent of Illinoisans are now fully vaccinated. Locally Friday Champaign County reported 38 new cases. Ford County reported 8 new cases. Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report. As for local vaccination numbers, Champaign County is at 49 percent fully vaccinated, Vermilion County 32 percent. Ford County 40 percent and Iroquois County 35 percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The National Weather Service is launching new weather warning categories to better reflect the strength of an incoming storm. Starting Monday, forecasters will be adding damage threat categories to any severe weather warnings, including “considerable” and “destructive” damage. State Climatologist Trent Ford says this should give the public a clearer picture of what’s in store, since not all storms are created equal…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. The “considerable” damage warning may include golf ball sized hail and/or 70 mile per hour winds, while the “destructive” warning has the potential for baseball size hail and/or 80 mile per hour winds.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- A second bird has tested positive for West Nile in Vermilion County. The health department says the bird was found on Danville’s west side. 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton may change the way they upgrade streets in the city. Mayor Bill Ingold says they are testing oil and chipping at Pells Park…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Several area school districts are receiving funding from state library grant program awards. Cissna Park Schools are receiving $3,850. Hoopeston Area Schools are receiving $988, Mahomet Seymour Schools are receiving $2,796, PBL $1,146, Rantoul City Schools $1,486, Fisher, Iroquois West, GCMS, Milford, Rantoul Township High School, St. Joseph Community and St. Joseph Ogden High School each received $850.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is making some changes to ease heavy customer volume in Illinois Driver’s Services Facilities. Long lines have been a problem at some d-m-v’s across the state, so Secretary White is expanding the remote renewal process. This will let one million more people renew their driver’s license or ID card online, by phone or mail, says Spokesperson Beth Kaufman…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. Notices will be sent out to those eligible for online renewal from September through February. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The second installment of tax bills are due next month. The second installment for Ford County residents is due September 10th. For Iroquois County residents the second installment is due September 7th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Recently the state’s legislature inspector general resigned from her position citing a lack of ethics reform in the state. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about if there has been any movement since her announcement…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Benentt of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Two Paxton residents have been arrested for sex crimes. Caden Miller was arrested for criminal sexual assault and disorderly conduct for allegedly having sex with an underage girl. Preston Braaten was arrested for criminal sexual abuse and solicitation for allegedly trying to force himself upon a female.

 

OSF St. James-John Albrecht Medical Center’s Diabetes Support Group will meet on Tuesday, August 3rd from 6-7 pm.

 

The Iroquois County Public Health Department will host a Pfizer vaccine clinic on Wednesday, August 4th from 7-9 am.

 

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