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WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-02

The state's indoor mask mandate will be lifted today

(Paxton-jm) – On Sunday, Paxton Buckley Loda released a statement addressing a video regarding the district that is circulating on social media. In a Facebook post, the district said that it is cooperating with the Paxton Police Department in investigating the video. The district called the contents of the video offensive and unacceptable.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man is dead following a shooting at a bar over the weekend. Police were called to the Rantoul Public House just before midnight Saturday night. The 24 year old victim was taken to the hospital where he later died. Police recovered two shell casings at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released. WPXN News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to an accident on I-57 Saturday afternoon. Crews were called to the accident around 3pm. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – It’s official, the state’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted today. Thanks to the decrease in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, you will no longer have to wear a mask in gyms, restaurants, bars and stores. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike said in a facebook post that seniors, people with compromised immune systems and others may still want to keep that extra layer of protection… 

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. That includes public transportation, health care settings and long term care facilities.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A COVID-19 variant of concern, the omicron sub-lineage BA.2, otherwise known as "stealth omicron," has been identified in central Illinois by Reditus Laboratories. Two cases of the BA.2 subvariant were identified during a February 19 sequencing run using the lab’s Illumina NextSeq Sequencing technology.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Emergency dispatchers would be classified as first responders under a bill that passed the Illinois Senate this week. Senator Neil Anderson of Moline is also a firefighter and knows how difficult the job of taking emergency calls can be. He wants dispatchers to be better recognized for their efforts…

 

 

State Senator Neil Anderson. Anderson says this will entitle dispatchers to the same support programs that first responders can access. The bill still needs House approval.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,074 new Coronavirus cases and 74 additional deaths Friday. The seven day positivity rate is down to 2.4 percent. Champaign County reported 51 new cases. Vermilion County reported 6 new cases. Ford County reported 15 new cases and 1 additional death.

 

(Gilman-tr) – Each month the Iroquois West West School Districts recognizes a staff member for their excellence. IW Superintendent Angelo Lekkas shares who they chose this month and why… 

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas 

 

(Champaign-jm) – University of Illinois student Jospeh Rejive helped develop an app that uses computer vision to improve health outcomes for people with physical pain. The app is called EZPT. It is an A-I fitness app that helps with injury recovery. The EZPT app is an AI powered personal coach that recommends users with bio-specific exercises to help reduce pain and also increase mobility. When someone exercises, the app will analyze the movement using computer vision and the app will provide real-time feedback and correct a person's form. The app is free to download on Apple and Google devices.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is offering the public several facts and tips about scams so people can avoid them. In a Facebook post, the CPD addressed three types of scams: imposter, phone and identity theft. Officers said that imposter scams include: scammers posing as government officials and demanding immediate payment, requests to wire money to family or friends under odd circumstances and callers offering prizes for contests one doesn’t remember entering. For identity theft: keep documents in a secure location and shred them before disposal, use strong passwords online, do not share them with others and if passwords are written out, store them in a secure location, monitor credit using the one free report people are entitled to every year and report any suspicious activity or fraudulent bank charges to the bank or call 1-877-438-4338.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Last week was National F F A week and the Illinois State Vice President is Jaton Shaffer from Farmer City-Blue Ridge High School. Shaffer was in Paxton this week for the Golden Owl Award finalist presentation to PBL FFA Advisor Mike White. Shaffer shares about traveling the state to talk about agriculture…

 

 

Illinois State F F A Vice President Jaton Shaffer of Farmer City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A shooting in Champaign left a teenager injured Saturday afternoon, according to Champaign Police. The call came into police shortly before 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Seven shell cases were found after police arrived at an apartment building near the 1500 block of West Kirby Avenue. After police responded, officers were notified that a 19-year-old male transported himself to an area hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound. The preliminary investigation indicates a male subject exited a black-colored sport utility vehicle and began shooting in the direction of an apartment building. Police ask that anyone who has additional information please contact police at 217-351-4545.  

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Department of Children and Family Services investigators would be able to carry mace or pepper spray under a bill passed by the Senate Friday. The legislation was prompted by January’s murder of DCFS worker Deidre Silas in central Illinois. It’s sponsored by Senator Steve McClure of Springfield…

 

 

State Senator Steve McClure of Springfield. McClure says DCFS investigators currently aren’t allowed to carry mace or pepper spray. His bill requires those wanting to have such personal protection to first go through training with the Illinois State Police.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation giving students with disabilities in Illinois and their families access to more fully informed resources passes through the Senate and heads its way to the House. Senate Bill 3474 would require school districts to provide informational material to the parent or guardian of students with disabilities about the Achieving a Better Life Experience account program.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul is announcing final approval of the national 26 billion dollar opioid settlement agreement. The agreement is with companies like Cardinal, McKesson and Johnson and Johnson and Illinois’ share will be 760 million dollars. Attorney General Raoul says the deal also includes some safeguards…

 

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Raoul says the money will be used to fight the opioid epidemic and will be dispersed to state and local governments included in the agreement during the second quarter of this year.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton city leaders hope to finalize a list of street projects for this summer by the end of March. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the next steps in the process…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A plane heading to Chicago made an emergency landing in Champaign. The American Airlines plane left Manhattan Regional Airport in Kansas and was heading to O’Hare Airport when it had to divert and make a preventive stop at Willard Airport. An airport official said the stop was caused by the weather and a windshield wiper malfunction.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s mask mandate will end today. After several months, you won’t have to wear a mask at most places. However, that rule does not apply to hospitals and other healthcare settings. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City along with a group of lawmakers sent a letter asking the mask order be lifted for schools…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) – GOP State Representative Mike Marron is sponsoring House Bill 4830 that he is proposing would create an inspector general for every county in the state to improve local government ethics and improve protection for whistleblowers.  Marron says the recent controversy about how the new state inspector general was chosen is a factor is something he’s been thinking about since he was Vermilion County Board Chairman, and then even more since he was elected to the General Assembly. Requiring this in every county could lead to an unfunded mandate situation without help from the state, and Marron says exploring ways this could be funded is one of many issues to be looked at as the bill is considered.  Another possibility would be whether rural counties could share an inspector general.

 

 

The Illinois State Police is reporting a large increase in dangerous drug and weapons seizures last year.

(Tuscola–jc)  A semi truck crash  along Interstate 57 near Tuscola closed the north bound lanes for several hours last night. Police also reported drivers moving into the area at high speeds despite emergency vehicles and emergency lights on scene. State police continue to remind the motoring public to slow down and move over around accident scenes.  The lanes were cleared just before midnight.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is reporting a large increase in dangerous drug and weapons seizures last year. The State Police’s Metropolitan Enforcement Groups recovered an estimated 71 million dollars in illegal drugs in 2021, including fentanyl, heroin and meth. Director Brendan Kelly says the nine units partner with State Intelligence Officers, Illinois National Guard Counter Drug Analysts and community groups to stop the flow of narcotics…

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Kelly says the units are expanding their efforts to fight human trafficking and gun crimes.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court has removed a requirement that people in attendance at Illinois courts wear masks. The order goes into effect February 28, the same day the mask mandate is lifted for the state. The wearing of masks within courthouses is permitted, but not required.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Senate passed a bill to support the families of slain DCFS workers. Senator Doris Turner of Springfield is sponsoring the measure, which treats the death of a State Department of Children and Family Services caseworker similar to the death of a law enforcement officer. Under current law, when a police officer is killed their spouse and minor children are eligible to receive health insurance benefits…

 

 

State Senator Doris Turner of Springfield. The measure was inspired by last month's stabbing death of a central Illinois DCFS employee and another incident in 2017.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,979 new Coronavirus cases and 63 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate is 2.5 percent. Locally Vermilion County reported 7 new cases and 1 additional death. Champaign County is reporting 33 new cases. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The City of Paxton is beginning to look into street work for this summer. Paxton  Mayor Bill Ingold says once the snow and ice is clear they will have a better idea of what needs to be done…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Police said two crashes happened in an area near Bloomington Road and Mattis Avenue Thursday afternoon. According to officers, the first crash involved a school bus and a car. Champaign  Unit 4 schools said there were 8 students and two staff members on the bus when the crash happened. The students on the bus were taken home on a different bus.  The second crash involved two cars.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are pushing to empower parents in their kids' education. During a press conference Thursday, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington explained the legislation…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The measure still needs to go before the full Senate.

 

The Cissna Park FFA Chapter is  celebrating their 80 year anniversary this FFA week alongside numerous other chapters around the state. Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton says the vast majority of CP students are involved with ag related activities… 

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton.

 

(Washington-jm) – Here's the latest unofficial preview of planted acreage for this spring. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Bryce Sluis from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

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Cissna Park FFA Member Bryce Sluis

 

We were also able to talk with Sofia Roelfs from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter  about what is going on today.

 

 

Rantoul FFA Member Sofia Roelfs

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Senate Republicans are offering legislation to empower  the parents of schoolchildren. One of the bills adds five new positions to the State Board of Education, to be chosen by voters as opposed to appointed by the Governor. Another requires districts to post online all learning materials for curriculum taught says Senator Neil Anderson of Moline…

 

 

State Senator Neil Anderson of Moline. A third bill makes the “Invest in Kids” program permanent. It helps low income families pay for private school through donations. Donors receive a tax credit in return.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill looking to help recruit volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel in Illinois has passed the state Senate.  Senate Bill 3027 offers an income tax credit to help attract these workers. There would be a $500 tax credit offered for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel who are a member of or work for a fire department of a fire protection district for nine months or more and do not receive over $10,000 for their volunteer services during the taxable year. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Democrats are pushing legislation to help with the teacher shortage in Illinois. The bills let retired and substitute teachers work more hours in the classroom. One is sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris of Dolton…

 

 

State Senator Napoleon Harris of Dolton. Another measure lowers the age for teacher aides from 19 to 18. The Senators say these small changes are part of a larger discussion about attracting and retaining teachers.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Soybean Association is now accepting proposals for FY23 which strategically align with their three committee areas: government relations, market development and utilization. More details are available at ilsoy dot org slash fy 23 rfp. The fiscal year runs September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s mask mandate ends Monday. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about what it means for some sectors…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's Chief Economist projects another good year for U.S. agriculture, but projections may be clouded by recent events in Europe. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students have been participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Gracie Wagner from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Gracie Wagner

 

Homeowners hit hard by the pandemic will soon be able to apply for housing relief

(Springfield-jm) – The state is appealing a recent ruling on masks in schools to the Illinois Supreme court. After an Appellate Court refused to lift a temporary restraining order on the mask mandate in several school districts, Governor J-B Pritzker is turning to the top court for a reversal…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The state’s indoor mask mandate is set to be lifted on Monday and the Governor says that will also happen for schools but hasn’t provided a specific date.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois Senator facing embezzlement charges has officially resigned. Senator Tom Cullerton submitted his letter of resignation to Secretary of Senate Tim Anderson on Wednesday. The resignation is effective immediately. A federal grand jury indicted Cullerton on 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans and one count of making false statements in a health care matter.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Homeowners hit hard by the pandemic will soon be able to apply for housing relief. Applications will start being accepted in April says Illinois Housing Development Director Kristin Faust…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Director Kristin Faust. Faust strongly recommends getting online now and seeing what steps are required before applying. You can do that at: illinois housing help dot org.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,733 new Coronavirus cases and 86 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate remained the same at 2.6 percent. Vermilion County reported 24 new cases and 1 additional death. Champaign County reported 51 new cases. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

(Cissna Park-tr) – The Cissna Park FFA Chapter is personally celebrating their 80 year anniversary this FFA week alongside numerous other chapters around the state. Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton shares that it all started with Dale Price back in 1942… 

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man is behind bars after being accused of shooting a 10-year-old boy in 2019. Decari Roberts was 10 years old when he was shot twice inside his home on December 1, 2019. On Wednesday, Champaign Police charged 21-year-old Devlon Miles in the shooting. Miles is charged with attempted murder, a Class X felony; aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony; aggravated discharge, a Class 1 felony; and unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 3 felony.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker was dealt a blow to his executive orders when it comes to masking in schools. A Sangamon County judge ruled the Governor's orders null and void after a group of districts sued. The state appealed that decision to the Appellate Court. Last week the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a bi-partisan committee of lawmakers, refused to approve an administrative rule requiring masks in schools and the Appellate Court rejected the state’s appeal. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says its now in the hands of local control…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The Governor has said he will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office released its annual report about crime statistics in 2021. Sheriff’s deputies responded to more calls in 2021 than they did in 2020, but there was less gun violence. It highlights a slow return to normalcy after disruptions from the pandemic.

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Alexis Putnam from the PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Alexis Putnam

 

Emma Morrical from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Member Emma

 

(Springfield-jm) – House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday creating a statewide drug take back program. Many pharmacies provide receptacles for tossing out old medications, but the legislation aims to make this easier across Illinois. It’s sponsored by Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz of Glenview…
 

 

State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz of Glenview. The program would be paid for by pharmaceutical companies and include consumer education about where they can drop-off or mail unused meds. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There continues to be reaction to the Governor’s State of the State and Budget Address held two weeks ago. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there were some things the Governor talked about that he was happy to hear but there were still some unanswered issues…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Caterpillar Integrated Logistics Center, a provider of integrated supply chain solutions, has announced a new apprenticeship program in collaboration with Parkland College. The program, which combines on-the-job learning and mentoring in Caterpillar logistics centers with classroom instruction provided by Parkland, will upskill entry-level warehouse associates and prepare them for advancement opportunities within the industry. The apprenticeship program launches in late March.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton leaders approved an environmental land use control at a small parcel between Cathy’s salon and Just Hamburgers. Mayor Bill Ingold says the old gas station at that site had a leak several years back…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Central Illinois has experienced a few reports of hate crime over the past few months. The most recent happened at Parkland College in Champaign. Flyers placed around campus by the Pride Alliance have been ripped down several times. Leaders say that has led to vulgar and hateful speech over the past couple of days. Over the weekend, plastic bags filled with gravel and anti-Semitic notes were found of the U of I campus. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says this would be hard to prosecute as a hate crime because the bags did not violate a law that fits under the state’s hate crime statute. As far as the Parkland College case goes, it could be considered a hate crime if the college proves those flyers were taken down because of the message. Parkland College has submitted that case to Rietz’s office to find out.

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Christian Thompson from the Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Rantoul FFA Member Christian Thompson

 

Dominick Castens from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Fisher FFA member Dominick Castens


 

he Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper tonight from 5-7 pm at their building located at 134 W. State Street. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread dessert and drink for $10.

 

A benefit for the family of Ford County Sheriff’s deputy Brian Norton who passed away recently will be held at the 103 East Bar and Grill in Buckley will be held on Sunday, February 27th from 2-6 pm.

 

FFA Week Continues this week and Cissna Park High School FFA Chapter is celebrating 80 years

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul have filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court over their appeal to the temporary restraining order on school mask mandates. Governor Pritzker also wants the Illinois Supreme Court's decision on the appeal expedited, but there is no timetable at this point.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s mask mandate is set to be lifted next week, but Governor J-B Pritzker says communities and businesses can impose their own mitigations if necessary. Masks will no longer be required in most indoor places starting Monday, says Governor J-B Pritzker. This applies statewide and now, in the City of Chicago…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says private businesses can enact their own requirements as well.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,242 new Coronavirus cases and 132 additional deaths since last Friday. No report was given over the weekend or Monday because of the President’s Day holiday. Locally, Iroquois County reported 54 new cases and 1 additional death. Champaign County reported 293 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 57 new cases and 4 additional deaths.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – The City of Paxton approved an environmental land use control at their February meeting. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the reason behind it…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College's "Parkland Preview" event for high school seniors will be returning on Friday, March 25 from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Student Union. The Parkland Preview allows prospective and admitted students to explore their major with the instructors and staff of Parkland's transfer and career programs. 23 different Parkland programs and departments will be present at the event, including nursing, dental hygiene, surgical technology, arts and sciences, aviation, agriculture, business/computer science and technologies, and more.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Area Republican lawmakers continue to sound off on the Governor’s State of the State and Budget Address held earlier this month. Republicans criticized the Governors address saying he made things sound rosy and better than what they really are. One of those criticizing the Governor is 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District has a new school resource officer. Brandon Ryan was hired to be the district's first officer. Ryan has served as a police officer in Paxton for 8 years.

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Kayla McWethy from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Member Kayla McWethy

 

Kenzie Swan from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Kenzie Swan

 

Gracelynn Greenburg from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks more about the Assembly that will take place today.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Gracelynn Greenburg

 

(Normal-jm) – Illinois State University announced that it will be updating its masking policy on campus Monday. According to an email sent to students, due to Governor Pritzker plan on lifting the state-wide mask mandate, ISU will not require students to wear a mask in indoor spaces starting February 28, with a few exceptions.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new COVID-19 treatment is now being offered across Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that a new monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab, is now available for the treatment of COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for it on Feb. 11, 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Grain Bin Safety Week. The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Joe Small says accidents can happen when farmers become complacent while doing routine tasks inside and around grain bins…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Joe Small. Small urges the use of a harness when inside the bin and says farmers should have ladders installed where possible for emergency exit.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,242 new Coronavirus cases and 132 additional deaths since last Friday. No report was given over the weekend or Monday because of the President’s Day holiday. Locally, Iroquois County reported 54 new cases and 1 additional death. Champaign County reported 293 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 57 new cases and 4 additional deaths.

 

(Cissna Park-tr) – The Cissna Park FFA Chapter is personally celebrating their 80 year anniversary this FFA week alongside numerous other chapters around the state. Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton says it's a pretty special moment for the chapter…

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton.


 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Sports Complex in Rantoul is gearing up for the upcoming Baseball Season. After time, The facilities are starting to attract some big name teams to the area, including Eastern Illinois University along with their respective fans, says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana plans to launch a film center this fall named after one of the school’s most famous alumni. The Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies will include internships in arts criticism and equipment for film classes. Ebert was an Urbana native who graduated from the U of I in 1964 and became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize.

 

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Mia Musick from the Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Fisher FFA member Mia Musick

 

We were also able to talk with Spencer Hesterberg from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter.

 

 

Rantoul FFA Member Spencer Hesterburg

 

Illinois lawmakers are looking to place more regulations around pop-up COVID-19 testing sites

(Springfield-jm) – A lawsuit filed this month alleged that prisoners at an Illinois Department of Corrections facility deal with rodents, insects and other unsanitary conditions in cells, bathrooms and the kitchen. The Chicago Tribune reports that the suit on behalf of a detainee also alleges that plumbing at the intake facility is faulty, including toilets that back up and cause raw sewage to overflow inside cells.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are looking to place more regulations around pop-up COVID-19 testing sites. This comes after state officials have warned residents about the legitimacy of some locations due to everything from slow test results to accusations of fraud at some sites over the last few months. A package of four bills currently making their way through the Illinois House would place more oversight on the testing sites. One bill would regulate the speed of results and license sites within the Illinois Department of Public Health. Other proposed legislation would place additional regulations on labs that sites use to test.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Area state lawmakers are asking for answers after the state moved several inmates from the Pontiac Correctional Facility. One of those is 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Unit 4 teachers have officially started the public posting process after a negotiation session last Thursday was unsuccessful.  Teachers are members of the Champaign Federation of Teachers. The union has been bargaining with the district since last May.  The posting was filed Friday. The earliest the teachers could formally strike is March 21. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – An Illinois man is facing drug possession charges after he reportedly brought drugs into the State Farm Center over the weekend. The University of Illinois Police Department says 48-year-old Sanford Stacy Junior was arrested Saturday just before 6 p.m. at the State Farm Center. Stacy was entering the arena through a security checkpoint when campus security found meth in his possession.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois reports anti-Semitic and hateful flyers being spread around campus, inside plastic bags filled with small rocks.

Chancellor Robert J. Jones sent students an email, condemning the racist flyers. University police are looking for anyone with information to come forward. Students can call 217-333-1216.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man is facing multiple charges for allegedly sexually assaulting and hitting a preteen. 32 year old Timothy McCauley was charged Friday with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and one count of aggravated battery of a child. The child reported the abuse to school officials who called police. If convicted of the criminal sexual assault charges he faces 6-30 years in prison. Bond was set at $500,000. He is due back in court March 29th.

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Katie Landers from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what goes on today.

 

 

Fisher FFA member Katie Landers

 

Lyssa Kaeb from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Member Lyssa

 

(Springfield-jm) – There are new efforts to help hundreds of Illinois foster children stuck in hospitals after they've been cleared to leave. Groups are taking action after Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith was held in contempt of court over the issue. Smith has actually been held in contempt four times in the last two months.
 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Former Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth, who have reached the age of 18, could soon have access to search and reunite with former foster parents and foster siblings. State Senator Sara Feigenholtz is proposing a bill that would help former foster youth get in contact with their previous foster families through existing search and reunion services provided by DCFS. Under Senate Bill 3130, DCFS would be required to provide their youth an explanation of available services within 30 days of them turning 18.

 

(Buckley-tr) – The Owners of the 103 Bar and Grill in Buckley with the help of Katharine Grayson will be hosting a benefit to honor the life and family of Brian Norton, a Ford County Sheriff's Deputy. Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson says plans for a silent auction are in place…

 

 

Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign City Council passed the Community Gun Violence Prevention Blueprint in hopes it will make help curb the gun violence crisis. The blueprint puts forward $6 million to go towards combating gun violence. The main focus will be on local organizations working on long-term solutions. The next step for the city is distributing the funds to local agencies.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in getting more information about a recent retail theft. According to Champaign Police, on January 18, two subjects entered Kohl’s at 109 Convenience Center Road at around 4:25 p.m. and left the store separately with unpaid merchandise, totaling $3,500 to $5,000. Police said the first suspect was a man wearing a red cap and a black jacket with cartoon characters on the back. The second suspect was a woman wearing a black Chicago Blackhawks hoodie and carrying an oversized white coat. Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Police responded to a report of a missing juvenile with special needs early Monday morning. Police said they were called around 2:40 a.m. and learned the juvenile had a condition that necessitated a swift response from area agencies in order to locate her. Officers and Detectives from Urbana PD and the University of Illinois PD initially responded, soon followed by the assistance from the Urbana Fire Department, Champaign Fire Department, METCAD, and the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Search and Rescue Team. According to authorities, the juvenile was located at about 7:10 a.m., safe and unharmed.

 

(Ford County-jm) – All 43 turbines comprising Ford County’s newest wind farm have been built, putting it one step closer to starting commercial operations in March. Known as the Ford County Wind Farm, the project’s first turbine was completed in late November and its last was finished earlier this month. Over the Ford County Wind Farm’s 30-year lifespan, it is expected to bring about $36 million in new tax revenue to local governmental entities and $50 million in lease payments to landowners.

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Bailey Luebchow from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Bailey Luebchow

 

We were also able to talk with Hope Watts from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter, she talks about State Degrees.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Hope Watts

 

akenna Brooks from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

Rantoul FFA Member Makenna Brooks

 

House Republicans are introducing legislation they say will undo issues with the police reform law passed last year

(Springfield-jm) – The latest weather outlook for next month calls for warmer and wetter conditions in Illinois. The above normal temperatures forecasted by the Climate Prediction Center will certainly be welcome. But State Climatologist Trent Ford says the increased chances of higher rainfall will mean different things for certain areas of the state…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Northern and Northwest Illinois continue to experience drought conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul have once again been defeated in court. The appellate court of Sangamon county dismissed the Governor's appeal of the temporary restraining order on masks in schools as moot. The Governor and Attorney General say they will appeal this to the Illinois Supreme court.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New legislation aims to support police and reduce crime in Illinois. The bills take aim at habitual offenders, especially those repeatedly convicted of domestic battery and raises the penalty for strangling someone. Another makes it an obstruction of justice to steal a police officer’s body camera. Kankakee Representative Jackie Haas says unfortunately, her proposals haven’t gone anywhere yet…

 

 

State Representative Jackie Haas of Kankakee. Haas says the measures are in response to the December shooting of two Bradley police officers.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton firefighters were busy over the weekend handling multiple accidents. Friday afternoon crews were called to a single vehicle rollover on Route 9 about 2 miles east of Paxton. Sunday morning crews were called to a single vehicle accident on 200 north around 2350 east. Sunday afternoon crews were called to a single vehicle rollover accident near 276 north 2100 east.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton’s wastewater plant will be seeing some upgrades. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about some of the new parts being ordered for the plant…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – By the end of this month, you'll no longer be required to wear a mask or provide proof of vaccination at U of I events. The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is dropping the mask mandate, except in instructional places, on Monday, February 28. Also, those attending U of I sponsored events won't have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to get in.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Republicans are introducing legislation they say will undo issues with the police reform law passed last year. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says they’ve already seen negative effects from the reforms…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Lyssa Kaeb from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about an activity that will take place all week.

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Member Lyssa

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is reminding the public they can renew their license plate stickers online. Driver’s Services Facilities are often inundated with people anxious to renew their sticker, but that can easily be done online says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Once you complete the form, print out your receipt and store it in your glove compartment…
 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. You can renew your sticker on the website: il sos dot gov.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois State Police responded to over 2,000 calls for service during the recent winter storm. It included over 300 traffic accidents and 800 motorists assists. Five state troopers were also hit during this round of winter weather, including a state trooper in Champaign County. One of the troopers was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation passed by the Senate aims to protect child victims of sex crimes. A judge could clear the courtroom of most people when a victim of child sexual abuse or assault testifies about what they’ve been through. The bill is supported by Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign…

 

 

State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign. The media would still be allowed to cover the proceedings from inside the courtroom. The measure now moves to the House for a vote.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police are investigating a weekend shooting. Police were called to the 200 block of West Clark Street for a report of battery then shots fired just before 2 am Sunday morning. Upon arrival officers learned of a fight that injured a 41 year old man and discovered evidence of gunfire. Shortly after, officers were notified of a 27 year old male at an area hospital with a non life threatening gunshot wound to the leg. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign police.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois school children won’t be required to wear masks in schools. That comes after the Governor’s order was struck down twice last week says 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The Governor is appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Officers arrested a man they said was wanted in connection to a shooting. In a news release, U of I Police officers said Martines A. Gill was arrested near Coler and Western avenues. He was arrested on charges of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, possession of a controlled substance, armed violence. He was also arrested on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Gill had been wanted in connection to a shooting last year in ChampaignWhen police arrested Gill, they found a gun in his jacket pocket and two bags of cocaine that had been thrown on the sidewalk immediately next to him.

 

(Buckley-tr) – The Owners of the 103 Bar and Grill in Buckley with the help of Katharine Grayson will be hosting a benefit featuring food, a silent auction, and many other activites to honor the life and family of Ford county Sheriff's Deputy Brian Norton. Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson says there are many people lending their time and support…

 

 

Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson.

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Abigail Teske from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on this week.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Abigail Teske

 

Maci Kingren from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about the importance of FFA Week.

 

 

PBL FFA Member Maci Kingren

 

The State Department of Transportation is warning the public about potentially dangerous road conditions

(Springfield-jm) – As another winter storm moves into Illinois, the State Department of Transportation is warning the public about potentially dangerous road conditions. Heavy rain and snow, flooding and blustery winds will impact travel, and drivers need to be prepared, says IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda. Since the weather will vary widely across the state, IDOT recommends checking their winter road conditions map online at: getting around illinois dot com before traveling. Many schools around the area have chosen e-learning for today. Rantoul City Schools announced that, with one exception, the district is canceling all after-school activities today. The ExPLORES, DREAMM, and DMBGC programs are all included in the cancellations. The one exception is the JW Eater band concert scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The district said it will make a final decision on the concert at noon.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The State of Illinois may soon get a new Legislative Inspector General. Senate President Don Harmon says the State Senate advanced a resolution nominating Judge Michael McCuskey to be the new Legislative Inspector General. The previous Legislative Inspector General resigned on December 15, 2021.

 

 

(Champaign–jc)  – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in an apartment building at 52 E. Armory Ave.last night just after 10pm  Fire crews quickly extinguished a small fire in this three-story apartment building.  Firefighters responded to a report of a burning odor in a second-floor apartment called in by the occupant.  Once on the scene, fire crews found a fire contained in the wall between two apartments and upgraded the incident to a working fire.  Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire using fire extinguishers.   The fire was accidental and started in the wall between two apartments.  No injuries were reported.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois school children and staff should still be wearing a mask. Despite a legislative commission voting down a new mask emergency rule Tuesday, the Governor says the original mandate is still in place…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says all districts not covered by the lawsuit need to keep masking up until the Appellate Court makes its decision.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,323 new Coronavirus cases and 104 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate fell to 3.6 percent. Vermilion County reported 34 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 29 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Wednesday.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in a vacant home at 508 E. Eureka St., Wednesday at 2:21 p.m.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire in this single-family home.  Firefighters responded to a report of light smoke coming from this vacant two-story residence called in by a passerby.  Once on the scene, fire crews reported light smoke coming from the home.  Firefighters found a fire on the stairs leading to the second floor.  Crews deployed multiple hose lines and extinguished the fire.      

 

(Washington-jm) – Prices to broiler producers are higher than expected, but production is running a little lower than expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 


(Springfield-jm) – Low-to-moderate income families and senior citizens needing assistance filing their 2021 income taxes can receive free help through several programs around Illinois. The Internal Revenue Service, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program, and Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program are providing free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in locations statewide. Taxpayers can search for a nearby provider by visiting tax.illinois.gov

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Pork Producers Association has released its annual scholarship applications for undergraduate students. The applications are due via mail or email on March 1, 2022, at 4 p.m. Applicants have three scholarship options between IPPA's Illinois Pork Donor-Advised Scholarship, the Adam Fesser Scholarship, and the Ryan & Friend Scholarship.

 

(Washington-jm) – Slower growth in milk output and rising demand may spur some of the highest milk and dairy product prices in years. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Paxton ERS chicken and noodle supper scheduled for tonight has been postponed until next Thursday due to the incoming inclement weather.

 

The sports betting industry in Illinois is booming and the Super Bowl was its biggest day ever

(Springfield-jm) – The school mask mandate for Illinois schools has effectively been suspended -- for now. On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted against extending the Illinois Department of Public Health emergency rule on school mask mandates. IDPH's move to reissue the emergency rule would have required school districts to enforce Governor JB Pritzker's school mask mandate despite a recent court ruling on the matter. The vote was 9 to 0 with 2 just voting present.

 

(Vermilion County–jc)  –  Two Vermilion County residents were fatally injured in a two car crash along Illinois Route 1 in Vermilion County. Police say 25 year old Joshua Newberry of Hoopeston lost control of his vehicle and struck a vehicle driven by 63 year old Linda Crippin of  Danville. Crippin and passenger Jerry Crippin, also of Danville, were pronounced dead at the scene by the Vermilion County Coroner’s office. Newberry was cited for a traffic violation and wearing no seat belt. An investigation is ongoing.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The sports betting industry in Illinois is booming and the Super Bowl was its biggest day ever. Experts are projecting Illinoisans to have wagered nearly double what was wagered last year. Last year, people in Illinois gambled about $45 million on the big game, and the state made about a million in tax revenue in that one day. This year, the number is projected to be north of $75 million wagered.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,893 new Coronavirus cases and 53 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate fell to 3.8 percent. Champaign County reported 87 new cases and 6 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 17 new cases and 2 additional deaths.



(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man who admitted he didn’t turn himself in to begin his prison sentence when he was supposed to has been sentenced to a year of conditional discharge. Anthony Lindsey pleaded guilty to escape, admitting that he failed to show up at the jail on January 24th to begin a 5 year prison sentence for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Dairy growers now have more time to enroll for both Dairy Margin Coverage and its supplemental version for this year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Paxton ERS chicken and noodle supper scheduled for Thursday night has been postponed until next Thursday due to the incoming inclement weather.

 

Several Committee meetings for Vermilion County have been canceled today and Thursday. Today the February Public Safety Committee Meeting is canceled and the Thursday Health and Education Committee Meeting is canceled.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois Senator is working to ensure dispatchers are classified as first responders. Senate Bill 3127 would amend various laws to include “Emergency Medical Dispatchers” in reference to first responders, giving them the same recognition as police, firefighters and medics. It’s sponsored by Senator Neil Anderson.

 

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Board is currently in the midst of approving applications for Covid relief Funds allocated to Iroquois County. Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure laid out the county’s plan of disbursement… 

 

 

Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure


 

(Buckley-tr) – The Owners of the 103 Bar and Grill in Buckley with the help of Katharine Grayson will be hosting a benefit featuring food, a silent auction, and many other activites to honor the life and family of Ford county Sheriff's Deputy Brian Norton. Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson gave WPXN a heartfelt look into how Brain Norton was known by those around him…

 

 

Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson

 

(Mahomet-jm) – A Mahomet man faces up to 40 years in prison after he admitting to sexually molesting a preteen girl. Andrew Huddle pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to a single count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under the age of 13. In exchange for his guilty plea, 5 other counts were dismissed. 

 

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin's bid to run for Governor supported by Billionaire Ken Griffin

(Mansfield–jc)  – Interstate 74 eastbound traffic is being diverted off at exit 166  at Mansfield due to a truck tractor semi-trailer rollover crash on Interstate 74 eastbound at mile post 171.  Please use extra caution in this area and yield to stationary emergency vehicles 

 

(Undated-jm) – The remains of an Illinois soldier are returning home, decades after World War II. Navy Fireman 1st Class George Price of Dallas City, Illinois was killed during World War II when Pearl Harbor was attacked. On Dec. 7, 1941, Price was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Price. Price was finally accounted for back in August and will be buried May 4, 2022, in his hometown.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 14,269 new cases and 224 additional deaths since Thursday. The state and many local health departments did not have a report Friday because of the President’s Day holiday. Locally, Ford County reported 47 new cases and 1 additional death. Champaign County reported 702 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Iroquois County reported 60 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 179 new cases and 6 additional deaths.

 

(Washington-jm) – Despite a January price drop for one major food item, overall food prices are continuing to rise substantially. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The woman accused of shooting a person at Marketplace Mall over the weekend is claiming self defense. Diamond Mitchell allegedly fired one shot at a 19 year old male in the parking lot of the mall. Mitchell told police she acted in self defense after a dispute with the man over a pair of shoes. She had a valid FOID and concealed carry license.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign is now accepting applications for entry-level police officer testing on an ongoing, continuous basis. Candidate pools will be pulled monthly for review as part of the City’s Entry-Level Police Officer hiring process. Anyone interested in learning about the Champaign Police Department, the hiring process and salary and benefits can visit national testing network dot com slash public safety jobs.

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Public Health Department is offering CPR/AED classes to help local residents learn the tools needed to provide life saving care during American Heart Month. Community Health Educator Gina Greene encourages everyone to consider their heart health… 

 

 

Community Health Educator Gina Greene.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Carle Foundation Hospital again receives the top achievement from Healthgrades – the 2022 America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award.  This recognition places Carle among the top one percent of all hospitals in the country for clinical care and patient outcomes for the most common conditions and procedures. This is the seventh consecutive year Carle Foundation Hospital is among the America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award.  Carle is one of only 4 hospitals in Illinois to receive the America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Billionaire Ken Griffin has made his support for a Republican governor official. Griffin on Monday contributed $20 million to Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin's bid to run against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Griffin had previously expressed admiration for Irvin’s background as a military veteran, litigator and Aurora’s first Black mayor. As for supporting a particular candidate, he had said on that he was “all in” to upend Pritzker, pledging up to $300 million to defeat the first-term Democrat.

 

(Washington-jm) – After a long hiatus due to Covid, the USDA is about to resume in-person trade missions. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign County deputy was hurt after a crash at the intersection of Vine and Main streets early Sunday morning. A deputy was stopped at a red light at around 6:20 a.m. when a vehicle struck her squad car in the rear. This vehicle tried to flee but they ended up in a snowbank within a short distance of the incident. The driver was identified as 21-year-old Bacilio Domingo Agustin of Champaign. Agustin was arrested for driving under the influence, operating an uninsured vehicle and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. He was released on bond. The deputy had minor injuries.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A restaurant in Champaign has recently decided to close permanently. Alexander’s Steakhouse in Champaign made the announcement on Facebook. Alexander’s Steakhouse in Peoria, Normal and Springfield will remain open.

 

 

(Buckley-tr) – The Owners of the 103 Bar and Grill in Buckley with the help of Katharine Grayson will be hosting a benefit featuring food, a silent auction, and many other activites to honor the life and family of Ford county Sheriff's Deputy Brian Norton. Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson shares details on how to donate towards the silent auction…

 

 

Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson.

 

 

(Danville-jm) – A man was sentenced to 106 years in prison and 9 years of probation for the murder of Justin Daubaris. According to the Vermilion County State’s Attorney, in 2019, 18-year-old Lamont Davis was involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Justin Daubaris. Davis was found guilty of murder and home invasion in October 2021. He admitted to shooting and killing Daubaris.

 

Legislation is being discussed in Springfield that would raise the legal age to get married in Illinois to 18

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police Department confirmed that one person was shot in the leg at Market Place Mall. The altercation involved a male and female that started near the food court, and ended in the parking lot. Diamond Mitchell, 22, of Urbana, produced a firearm, firing one shot, injuring a 19-year-old male involved in the altercation. The injuries are non-life threatening. Mitchell was taken into custody without incident and is being held at the Champaign County Correctional Center.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans say their plan regarding the Illinois gas sales tax is better than the governor’s proposal to freeze the rate this upcoming fiscal year. State Senator Terri Bryant said the plan would lower the gas sales tax to 5.25%. To make up for the lost road funds from gas sales, the plan proposes raising road funds from the General Revenue Fund to 53%. Bryant accused the governor of violating the “lockbox amendment” that passed in 2016, which bans lawmakers from using transportation funds for other purposes.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation is being discussed in Springfield that would raise the legal age to get married in Illinois to 18. The bill’s sponsor, state Representative Joe Sosnowski, said many girls and some young men are forced into early marriages by their parents.  Under current Illinois law, it is legal for a 16- or 17-year-old to marry with the consent of a judge or of the parents.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is asking for more money for the Department of Children and Family Services. The money would go towards hiring more staff, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man who authorities said killed three dogs when he set an apartment on fire has been arrested.  38-year-old Martell D. Jones is charged with aggravated arson, residential arson and aggravated cruelty to animals for the alleged January 18 fire. The apartment is located in the 800 block of S. Mattis Ave. in Champaign. There were no people at the apartment. Three dogs died when they were overcome by smoke. Jones faces six to 30 years in prison for aggravated arson, should he be found guilty.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Sibley man has been sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for armed robbery. Jason Joslin pleaded guilty to armed robbery after he pointed a gun at a Meijer employee who confronted him about shoplifting.  In exchange for his plea other charges of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, aggravated assault and armed robbery were dismissed.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Farm Sector Income is projected to decline this year, but what about the median incomes of farm households? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Public university students across Illinois could have expanded access to emergency contraception on college campuses if a new bill passes through the General Assembly. State Representative Barbara Hernandez has sponsored a bill mandating that all Illinois public universities have a vending machine that dispenses emergency contraception in a place that is accessible after hours and on the weekends. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker wants to end standardized tests for the state's youngest students. Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas is spearheading a measure that would prohibit standardized tests for students pre-K through second grade. This week, Senate Bill 3986, also known as the Too Young to Test Act, passed the Senate Education Committee. Currently, the federal government requires standardized testing for students in third grade and older but does not mandate it for students in pre-K through second grade. The Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE, is considering allowing optional standardized tests for those younger students.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is looking at a budget surplus. Governor J-B Pritzker says its the first time in a while the state has had a surplus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Carle Foundation Hospital President Lynne Barnes is set to retire near the end of February after 45 years. Barnes went straight from graduating college at the University of Illinois to Carle as an occupational therapist in 1977, and she’s been in her current role for about ten years.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The second suspect in a 2021 Urbana murder has recently been arrested. Urbana Police said they heard gunshots coming from an area of 1400 Ivanhoe Way at around 4:40 a.m. on September 11, 2021. Police went to the shooting and located a man lying on the sidewalk. According to them, 33-year-old Kendall K. Jones had been shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. Officers investigated the shooting and based on the investigation, secured arrest warrants for Johnathon Brumfield and Brian Ferrell for the murder of Jones. The bond amount for each warrant was set at $1 million.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Bulk product exports helped make last year a record agricultural export year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Insurance companies may soon have to cover the cost of plastic surgery for survivors of domestic violence

(Springfield-jm) – Insurance companies may soon have to cover the cost of plastic surgery for survivors of domestic violence. Abuse victims often need plastic surgery or other treatments to heal their injuries, but insurance companies frequently deem those treatments as cosmetic and won’t cover them. That’s why a new bill at the Statehouse aims to require insurance companies in Illinois to fully cover those treatments for abuse victims once a licensed doctor approves of that coverage.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois much like the rest of the country has a major shortage of teachers. State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas is hoping to help ease that shortage with a bill she's sponsoring. Senate Bill 3988 calls for lowering the age requirement for educator paraprofessionals from 19 to 18 for paraprofessionals who work in pre-K to eighth grade classrooms. The measure on Thursday passed the Senate Education Committee and heads to the full Senate for additional consideration.

 

(Washington-jm) – There are a number of market factors helping to support U.S. soybean prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 5,419 new cases and 116 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate fell to 5.8 percent. Thursday, Champaign County reported 331 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 60,306 and deaths to 271. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

(Buckley-tr) -- The Owners of the 103 Bar and Grill in Buckley with the help of Katharine Grayson will be hosting a benefit to honor the life and family of Brian Norton, a Ford County Sheriff's Deputy who passed away recently. Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson details the event…

 

 

 Brian Norton Benefit Spokesperson Katharine Grayson


 

(Champaign-jm) – A 66-year-old man is facing hate crime charges after a 43-year-old woman told police officers about her encounter with him in Hessel Park on December 27. A man allegedly made Asian-directed slurs. Fearful of what he might do, the woman began recording him with her phone. In response, he allegedly knocked the phone out of her hands. This man eventually left when another person intervened and threatened to call the police. When the woman went home, she called Champaign Police to make a report. Charles Stedwell of Champaign saw his picture in the Crime Stoppers’ post and came forward to the Champaign Police.

 

(Springfield-tr) A judge in Springfield last week made a ruling about the Illinois mask mandate and has left many school districts around the state to forge their own plans. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennet of Gibson City provides more information…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennet of Gibson City.

 

(Iroquois County-tr) - The Iroquois County Public Health Department is offering CPR/AED classes to help local residents learn the tools needed to provide life saving care during American Heart Month. Iroquois County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Gina Greene shares the details on class times and the costs involved… 

 

 

Iroquois County Public Health  Department Community Health Educator Gina Greene 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 19-year-old pleaded not guilty in connection to a car hijacking that happened on February 1 on the U of I campus. This was Sintrae Cobb’s first appearance at the Champaign County Courthouse. Cobb faces multiple charges, including armed robbery, vehicular hijacking, possession of a stolen vehicle and resisting a police officer. His next court date is scheduled for March 8.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There's a new way for students to find the right college for them. The State of Illinois launched a project to make the process easier for students and parents. The Illinois Postsecondary Profiles project utilizes comprehensive data directly from Illinois higher education state agencies and Illinois’ 160 public and private universities and community colleges.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Housing Development Authority said it is taking steps to protect applicants' personal information. On February 1, IHDA became aware of a breach of the Illinois Rental Payment Program web portal where some tenant applicants could see documents submitted by other tenant applicants. The agency determined the exposure was not caused by hackers, but by a coding error on the portal.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum will present core commodity outlooks, and also examine current issues in the world of agriculture. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A woman admitted she was driving drunk in a 2021 crash that caused the death of a University of Illinois police lieutenant.  Logan Freed of Champaign pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence in connection to the August 22nd crash. This crash began a chain of events that led to the death of Aaron Landers of St. Joseph.  At the time of the crash, Landers, who was a U of I police lieutenant, was on his motorcycle while riding southbound on Prospect Avenue at about 6:10 p.m. Authorities said he collided with a car that was struck by Freed's vehicle. Freed faces 4-15 years in prison.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 5,419 new cases and 116 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate fell to 5.8 percent. Thursday, Champaign County reported 331 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 60,306 and deaths to 271. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

(Paxton–jc)  One candidate for Illinois Governor made a stop in Iroquois, Ford and Champaign Counties this week.  Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan talks about his stance of some important issues…

 

 

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg

 

(Savoy-jm) – A man from Savoy is facing decades in prison for alleged sexual exploitation of a minor. David Berry was arrested and charged last October by the Champaign County State’s Attorney, but new federal charges were recently filed against him. Berry made an initial appearance in federal court, during which he was formally indicted. Judge Eric Long ordered that Berry remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention hearing on February 15. If convicted, Berry faces 15 to 30 years in prison for the crime. At this time, the indictment is only an accusation and Berry is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

(Undated-jm) – There could be some good news for those who don’t like winter weather but it may not last. That’s according to State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The annual Paxton Buckley Loda Toy Show is set for P-B-L High School tomorrow from 9am to 2-30pm  P-B-L F-F-A Member Jordan Walder says there are more than just toys at the event, it's a chance to learn more about agriculture…

 

 

P-B-L F-F-A Member Jordan Walder.

 

The PBL FFA Toy Show is Saturday from 9-2:30 at PBL High School.

 

The Rankin fire department will hold their 27th annual pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday from 6-1.

 

Parkland College Summer Camp Registration begins on February 15 at the college in Champaign

 

The mastermind of an attempt to set the Champaign Women's Health Practice on fire has pleaded guilty to the charges

(Urbana-jm) – The mastermind of an attempt to set the Champaign Women’s Health Practice on fire has pleaded guilty to the charges against her.

In federal court, Emily Claire Hari, formerly known as Michael Hari, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence, attempted arson, unlawful possession of a machine gun and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Hari remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing in the Central District of Illinois. She faces five to 20 years in prison for the attempted arson of the Women’s health practice, a maximum of 20 years for conspiracy to interfere with commerce and a maximum of ten years for the gun charges.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois is on track to lift the state’s indoor mask mandate on February 28th. No masks will be needed in bars, restaurants, grocery stores and more come the end of the month. The Governor says that’s thanks to a rapid decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says the state will continue fighting to keep the mask mandate in place for Illinois schools. Any federal and local mask rules will apply and masks will still be required in places like mass transit, healthcare settings, long term care facilities, prisons and daycares. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,742 new cases and 109 additional deaths Wednesday. Champaign County reported 135 new cases and 1 additional death. Vermilion County reported 110 new cases and 1 additional death.

 

(Undated-jm) – All Secretary of State offices and facilities in the state of Illinois will be closed on Friday in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, an official state holiday. Offices and facilities operating on a Monday through Friday schedule will reopen on February 14.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker has been visiting colleges in Illinois, touting his proposed increase in higher education funding. The additional 208 million dollars the Governor wants to see allocated to colleges and universities in the next fiscal year would cover things like more MAP grants and higher award amounts…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker also wants to put 230 million dollars towards the state’s College Illinois program to pay for existing contracts.

 

(Gilman-jm) – A Gilman man has been sentenced to 2 years probation on child sex and drug charges in Livingston County. Rocky Nelson pleaded guilty to delivering meth and indecent solicitation of a child. In exchange for his guilty plea, two other felony charges were dropped. 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has reduced its corn and soybean forecasts for Brazil and Argentina, but the cuts may have been less than some analysts had expected.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Death threats to Illinois lawmakers have prompted Speaker of the House Chris Welch to call on other political leaders for help. Speaker Welch sent Minority Leader Jim Durkin a letter asking for help to tamp down hateful rhetoric. Welch asked Durkin to urge civility while Durkin urged Welch to allow the voices of the minority party to be heard.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Board of Education is announcing more than two million dollars in grants to help districts attract new teachers. The “Grow your Own” grants help districts build a local pipeline of teachers by reaching out to high schoolers interested in a career in education. ISBE’s Dr Jennifer Kirmes says the best programs include coursework and hands on experience…

 

 

ISBE’s Dr Jennifer Kirmes. Kirmes says the Grow your Own effort is important because there is currently a shortage of teachers in Illinois. Districts can find out more about the grants online at: isbe dot net.

 

(Cissna Park-jm) – Cissna Park is the latest Iroquois County community that could be relying on the sheriff’s office for law enforcement. The community is working with the county on plans to have the sheriff’s office patrol the village 40 hours a week. County leaders worry what the expansion of adding communities pursuing patrol help from the county will do to the budgets.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – News of the latest South American soybean production forecasts from USDA is connected to this month's season ending price estimate for beans. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says the COVID-19 hospitalization rate will help determine how long the state's mask mandate lasts

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton man will spend a decade behind bars after being found guilty of the enticement of a minor. Robert Shawn Anderson, 52, was sentenced Tuesday to 121 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. It took the federal jury less than 90 minutes to reach a guilty verdict in October 2021. Evidence showed Anderson set up a meeting for sexual activity with someone he believed to be 15 years old using a dating application called MeetMe. Anderson was arrested over Valentine’s Day weekend 2020 as part of an FBI operation conducted in Kankakee County.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says the COVID-19 hospitalization rate will help determine how long the state’s mask mandate lasts. The number of COVID patients in the hospital is significantly down, which is a promising sign, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he wants the mandate to be lifted as soon as possible, while still keeping everyone safe. He says he’ll be announcing plans soon. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 5,828 new cases and 87 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 73 new cases. Champaign County reported 145 new cases and 1 additional death Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Tuesday.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Ford County Sheriff’s office is mourning the loss of one of their own. Deputy Brian Norton passed away over the weekend. Norton had been in the hospital since early October with COVID. Friday morning, Norton suffered a major stroke and succumbed. Norton served as an officer in Paxton, Onarga and Gilman before joining the Ford County Sheriff’s office in 2019. Services have not yet been announced.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Firefighters braced the icy waters to train for an ice rescue. On Tuesday, members from the Champaign Fire Department gathered at Kaufman Lake to train on an ice rescue. Firefighters were fitted with thermal suits and jumped into the icy waters. The specific training will prepare first responders for if they get a call of a person falling through the ice. All 6 Champaign fire stations will participate in the training.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Buckley Loda F-F-A Toy Show is coming up this Saturday at PBL High School in Paxton. P-B-L F-F-A member Austin Elam explains what the toy show is about…

 

 

PBL FFA Member Austin Elam.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul home was damaged by fire early Tuesday morning. Crews were called to the fire on Sunset Drive. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – It's going to cost farmers more this year to do business. Here is USDA's new forecast for production expenses. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Danville-jm) – A Danville man was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. Jeffery Henson pleaded guilty in October to the charges against him. He was accused of using multiple stolen identities to gain employment at a Schaumburg consulting firm and a Danville manufacturing firm. He did this to prevent his employers from discovering a long criminal history that included prior convictions for theft and computer fraud. Henson was further accused of defrauding these firms of more than $2.4 million and laundering some of that money to buy a luxury car. In addition to the prison sentence, Henson was ordered by Judge Colin Bruce to pay restitution of nearly $2.5 million to the firms he defrauded.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Police reform changes approved by the General Assembly last year are having negative consequences for police in Illinois. The General Assembly approved along party lines several pillars of the Black Caucus proposal for police and criminal justice reform. Republicans spoke out against the proposal saying it would put people’s safety at risk. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the number of police officers leaving the force has risen significantly since the legislation was passed…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

Attorney General Kwame Raoul is unveiling a new proposal to fight organized retail crime

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is moving as quickly as possible to get the recent ruling against his school mask mandate overturned. Governor Pritzker says the temporary restraining order is out of step with public health guidance and that masking is about protecting the public…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor urges schools not involved in the lawsuit to keep mask rules in place. He’s asked the Attorney General to aggressively appeal the order. Turning to the latest COVID numbers. Since Friday, the state reported 13,953 new cases and 237 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate has fallen to 7.2 percent. Champaign County reported 778 new cases and 1 additional death. Vermilion County reported 119 new cases. Iroquois County reported 106 new cases and 4 additional deaths. Ford County did not have a report Monday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The State Board of Education is looking for groups to help ensure children have access to healthy meals this summer. Schools, park districts, camps, churches and other organizations are urged to sign up for the state’s summer meal program and distribute food to kids, says ISBE Principal consultant Tim Murphy…

 

 

State Board of Education Principal Consultant Tim Murphy. Interested groups can learn more online at: isbe dot net slash nutrition. Nearly 18 million meals were served to students last summer.

 

(Watseka-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is recommending that people in the Watseka area test their drinking water for contamination if the water comes from private wells. The IDPH said vinyl chloride was detected in one of Watseka’s community water supply wells at levels that exceed the quality standard of Illinois groundwater. People with private wells located within 1500 feet of 800 East Walnut Street are encouraged to have their water tested by a private laboratory. For a list of these labs, please contact Michael Flanagan, IDPH Champaign Regional Office, by phone at 217-840-0418

 

(Springfield-jm) – Republican members of the Illinois House are proposing changes to the criminal justice and police reform legislation passed last year. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses some of the legislation being proposed by his colleagues…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Sheriff’s office is mourning the death of one of their officers. Deputy Brian Norton passed away. The sheriff’s office hasn’t released a cause of death. WPXN News will bring updates on this matter as they become available. 

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Sangamon County man has pleaded guilty to a string of burglaries including the Village Pantry in Paxton. John Beck of Mechanicsburg pleaded guilty to four counts of interference with commerce by robbery, one count of bank robbery, one count of armed bank robbery and one count of attempted escape. Beck admitted to robbing the Dollar General in Buffalo on April 8, the Odell Bank in Odell on April 9, the Fast Stop Store in Odell on April 17, the Village Pantry in Paxton on April 18, the Subway in Danville on April 19 and the Elmwood Bank in Elmwood on April 20. Beck, who is set to be sentenced May 25, faces penalties ranging from five to up to 25 years’ imprisonment for each count.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul is unveiling a new proposal to fight organized retail crime. Along with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Attorney General Raoul is pushing legislation that would give prosecutors more power to go after these crime rings and allow the Attorney General’s Office to convene a statewide grand jury…

 

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Officials say organized retail theft has increased by 60 percent over the last five years. Raoul says groups are stealing large amounts of merchandise and then selling it to fund illegal activities.


 

(Champaign-jm) – C-U at Home's One Winter Night fundraiser came close to completing its $500,000 donation goal, officials said in a press release. Participants spent the night in boxes outside to raise awareness for homelessness as a community issue. The event was held on Friday, February 4, but the location was shifted from sidewalks to outside of event headquarters at The Venue CU because of weather conditions.  The fundraiser had a strong showing and donations reached over 70 percent of the goal.  Leaders said the participation of several satellite locations helped with the success of One Winter Night. There were box dwellers in Farmer City, Shorewood, Mahomet, other Champaign locations, and the University of Illinois Quad. About 150 people participated. 

 

(Paxton-jm) – The 2022 PBL FFA Farm Toy Show will take place this Saturday at PBL High School in Paxton. Member Alexis Putnam talks about the featured tractor…

 

 

PBL FFA Member Alexis Putnam.

 

(Kankakee County-jm) – The Kankakee County Coroner’s and Sheriff’s office is investigating the death of an inmate at the county jail. Terrance Washington was found unresponsive in his cell. EMTs were called but were unable to revive Washington. An autopsy has been scheduled.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a retail theft that happened at a Walmart on January 25. According to Urbana Police, they were dispatched to 100 South High Cross Road at around 6:15 p.m. When they arrived on scene, they learned that a man had selected merchandise totaling just under $600 and left the store without paying for the items. He was seen leaving the parking lot in a white sedan. The suspect was described as a heavyset man, between 25 and 35 years old. He was last seen wearing a black stocking cap and gray jacket.

 

A Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order on Governor JB Pritzker's mask mandates

(Springfield-jm) – A Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order on Governor JB Pritzker’s executive orders for public school mitigations late Friday night. Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow said in her ruling that students at more than 170 school districts in Illinois, which were named in the lawsuit, won't have to wear a mask if they don't want to unless they are given due process. Certain unvaccinated school staff also will not have to take weekly COVID-19 tests if they don't want to. They would also need to have due process.  Pritzker’s mandates for masks and exclusion policies in schools and vaccines or testing for teachers have been in place since last fall.Governor Pritzker has asked the Illinois Attorney General’s office for an immediate appeal of Judge Grischow’s decision. The ruling is just for the districts listed in the lawsuit but could have an impact on future mitigations and other districts.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The latest COVID-19 numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health show some positive declines over the past week. New cases dropped by more than half, with 60,389 reported since last Friday. Deaths are also down, 608 this week compared to 843. That’s a nearly 28 percent decrease. Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s pleased to see the numbers going in the right direction…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Hospitalizations have dropped by nearly 31 percent in Illinois. Close to 71 percent of Illinoisans ages 5 and up are now fully vaccinated. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 18,464 new Coronavirus cases and 123 additional deaths Friday. No reports were given Thursday because of the winter storm. Champaign County reported 603 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 280 new cases and 5 additional deaths. Ford County reported 108 new cases.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is pleading with the public to slow down and move over after six squad cars were struck during the winter storm. The crashes occurred over the two day event and no life threatening injuries were reported. But Illinois State Police Trooper Hailey Polistina says the majority were related to motorists violating Scott’s Law, requiring drivers to reduce speed and switch lanes when they see flashing lights on the side of the road. She says they’re asking people to stay home if possible until the roads are in better shape…

 

 

State Trooper Hailey Polistina. Getting a ticket for violating “Scott’s Law” will cost you at least $250. If you end up hurting someone as a result, you could lose your license for several months. Two of the six were local with one in Urbana and the other in Vermilion County.

 

(Farmer City-jm) – A garage owned by Farmer City’s Streets Department caught fire and burned down Sunday afternoon. The garage, located on the corner of Monroe and James Streets, was used for storage. Snow plows were stored there and the plows are believed to have been inside when the fire started. The cause has not been determined.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Buckley Loda FFA Chapter will hold their Farm Toy Show this coming Saturday. Member Carlie Putnam has the details of this year’s show…

 

 

PBL FFA Member Carlie Putnam. The featured tractor at this year’s show is the Oliver 880. 


 

(Ford County-jm) – Ford County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 10 traffic accidents during the month of January. Deputies issued 3 citations for speeding, 2 each for driving on a suspended license and cannabis outside an approved container and 1 each for disregarding a stop sign and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Deputies also responded to 5 domestic issues, 3 thefts and 1 each of criminal damage to property, fraud, harassment and missing person.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The director of the Department of Children and Family Services is facing questions over his agency’s handling of some youth in their care. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting his Illinois Family Relief Plan. The Governor says thanks to a surplus in the current state budget, he’s proposing one billion dollars in tax breaks for Illinoisans. That includes a one year suspension of the state tax on groceries…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker’s proposal also includes freezing the upcoming increase in the gas tax and providing a one time property tax rebate of up to 300 dollars. All three of these ideas will have to be approved by the legislature.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign teenager is charged with four counts of first degree murder in an October 31 shooting at an apartment complex. Seventeen year-old Tony Brock is being charged as an adult due to the serious nature of the alleged crime. He appeared via video from the juvenile jail before Judge Brett Olmstead and learned of a sentence of 45 years to life in prison to be served at 100% if convicted. Brock is accused of shooting and killing 20 year-old Brandon Kelly of Champaign.

 

(Buckley-tr) – Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is offering Open Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school season. Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz has more information on how to enroll…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton church is raising funds for a couple who lost their home to fire. The Federated Church is raising funds for Russ and Nancy Taylor who lost their home to fire Thursday night. The fire rekindled early Friday morning making it a total loss.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republicans are urging changes to the police reform law. The Democratic majority of the Illinois General Assembly approved extreme changes in police and criminal justice reform including the elimination of cash bail among other proposals by the legislative Black Caucus. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says they are pushing for changes including some that have Democrat support…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

State Senator Scott Bennett is hosting a Valentine’s Day card collection through Thursday, February 10th. Cards can be mailed to his Danville office: 201 N. Vermilion St., Suite 323 Danville, IL 61832.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker's robust budget proposal for the next fiscal year aims to provide tax relief to Illinoisans

(Undated-jm) – It’ll be another remote learning day for students in the area. PBL, GCMS, Iroquois West, Christ Lutheran Buckley, Fisher, Gifford Grade, Ludlow Grade, Mahomet-Seymour, Parkland College, Rantoul Township High School, St. Joseph Community and St. Joseph Ogden High School are all on remote learning. St. Malachy, Thomasboro Grade and Rantoul City Schools are all closed.

 

(Undated-jm) – Vermilion County government buildings will be closed today. The Champaign County Courthouse is also closed today. Iroquois County government buildings are expected to be open.

 

(Paxton-dg)-Road crews have been busy to say the least. Once the winds died down crews were able to do a better job of clearing the roads. Most North/South roads are passable but are still very slick. East/west roads are still snow packed with many drifts. Route 9 from Gibson City to Bloomington is still closed. Please give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and make sure your route is available. 

 

(Undated–jc)  Mahomet and Tolono were  the winners of snow totals in the area. The two villages received just over 15 inches over the past two days. The snow total in Paxton was 13 inches, the same for Gibson City. Rantoul received 12 inches with Champaign Urbana at 12 and a half inches of snow.  12 inches of snow fell in Pontiac and 8 inches in Milford.

 

(Rural Paxton-jm) – Crews from multiple departments were called to a house fire Thursday evening. Crews from Paxton, Buckley, Loda, Roberts and Melvin were called to the fire at 800 North 1717 East just after 6pm. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Washington-jm) – On February 9th USDA will issue its new forecasts for South American corn and soybean production, but those forecasts pose a real challenge for the analysts who will make them. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker’s robust budget proposal for the next fiscal year aims to provide tax relief to Illinoisans and solidify the state’s financial footing. The Governor is proposing the Illinois Family Relief Plan, suspending the state gas tax for one year and doubling the property tax deduction for homeowners. Governor Pritzker says this is possible in part because the state is ending this fiscal year with a one point seven billion dollar surplus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J B Pritzker

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is offering tax breaks in the next fiscal year, but they don’t go far enough, says Senator Sue Rezin of Morris…

 

 

Illinois State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris

 

Local State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington has a few criticisms of the plan, saying the proposed one year tax breaks should be made permanent and that there’s not enough fiscal restraint…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. G-O-P lawmakers also say the Governor’s plan doesn’t do enough to address the rise in violent crime in Illinois

 

(Champaign-jm) – Centennial High School will soon be on the hunt for a new principal. The current principal, Charles Neitzel, announced in a letter to staff and families on Thursday that he plans to retire. He has served the school for 14 years and will take his leave from that position at the end of the school year.

 

(Springfield–jc)  Current Secretary of State Jesse White is not running for re-election to a position he has held for a long time. One former U S State’s Attorney has announced he is seeking to become the next Illinois Secretary of State. He is John Milhiser of Springfield…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State candidate, Republican John Milhiser of Springfield.

Illinois’s primary is June 28th with the fall election set for November 8th.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) – Country music superstar Tracy Byrd will be coming to Iroquois County this summer. The Watseka Family Festival announced Byrd will headline this year’s event set for August 26th and 27th. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Vermilion County government buildings will be closed today. The Champaign County Courthouse is also closed today. Iroquois County government buildings are expected to be open.

 

(Washington-jm) – Assistance for livestock and crop producers for weather related disasters over the past two years will soon be available, with USDA making the announcement Thursday. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – Three more Illinois State Troopers were hit during yesterday's snowstorm. Two of them happened in our area. One of the troopers was hit on I-74 near Urbana while the other local incident happened on I-74 near Muncie, Illinois in Vermilion County. The other crash happened near the Chicago area.

 

(Paxton—jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda competitive cheer squad qualified for state competition last weekend. State competition is set for this weekend at the Arena in Bloomington. P-B-L Competitive Cheer Coach Madison Warner says the Panthers placed in the top 4 out of 16 teams at sectionals to make it to state competition…

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda High School Competitive Cheer Coach Madison Warner

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Village of Mahomet plans to have six tennis courts at Middletown Park built prior to the 2022 IHSA tennis season.  The Mahomet-Seymour School District gave the Village of Mahomet Middletown Park and 13 Acres in 2021 with the promise that the Village would use $750,000 of state funds to construct tennis courts within five years time. The Village has not received the funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, yet. As they wait for the release of those funds, the Village might bond against the promise in order to complete the project by the late summer months. Plans are expected to be finalized by March.

 

 

CU at Home will host their 11th annual One Winter Night tonight in downtown Champaign to raise awareness about homelessness in the area.

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold a drive thru spaghetti lunch on Sunday from 11-12:30.

 

State officials are urging the public to stay off the roads if possible

(Springfield-jm) – State officials are urging the public to stay off the roads if possible as Illinois is hit with severe winter weather. This storm will include heavy snow. That’s why it’s best to stay home if you can, says State Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman…

 

 

State Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. If you must head out, Osman says you should make sure your gas tank is full, take it slow, give snow plows plenty of room, make sure your cell phone is charged and have blankets, an ice scraper and a first aid kit in your car. All schools in the WPXN listening area are either closed or doing remote learning today. Also most government buildings in Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion Counties are also closed.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 8,665 new Coronavirus cases and 123 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate has fallen to 8.5 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 380 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 77 new cases. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Tuesday. All the health departments announced they will be closed today because of the winter storm.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois legislature has gone home due to the winter storm, but Governor J-B Pritzker will be giving his annual budget address live at the Old State Capitol today. The combined State of the State and Budget Address will go on as scheduled, with the Governor laying out his proposal for the next fiscal year online. He says it’s disappointing not to be speaking with a live audience…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Details of the speech have already emerged, specifically tax relief for Illinoisans. The address begins at noon and can be streamed live at: illinois dot gov slash live video. WPXN News will have the latest from the Governors address on our news tonight at 4 and 5.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Police officers in the Champaign area arrested four people in connection to a carjacking that happened on the University of Illinois campus Tuesday afternoon. An Illini Alert was sent just before 4 p.m. warning campus community members about a carjacking at Second and Chalmers Streets and advising them to avoid the area. A follow-up alert 15 minutes later said the suspects were believed to have left the area and that it was safe to resume normal activities. 30 minutes later, another Illini Alert said the suspects were arrested off campus and the situation had been resolved.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The Paxton Buckley Loda school district will be E-learning today and Thursday, as many local communities issue snow emergencies. Paxton Buckley Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure shares how the district has planned ahead for this winter warning… 

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois unemployment rate fell for the 9th consecutive month in December. Locally, the unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent in December 2020 to 3.2 percent in December 2021. Ford County’s fell from 5.3 percent to 3.1 percent. Iroquois County’s fell from 5.5 percent to 3.7 percent. Vermilion County’s fell from 7.3 percent to 4.6 percent.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The City of Paxton’s new shed is complete. The old shed burned down back in May of 2020. The cause of the fire was never determined.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing a disaster declaration ahead of the severe winter storm. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency will coordinate state response efforts from the Emergency Operations Center in Springfield and the Department of Transportation is deploying more than 18 hundred trucks and equipment to plow, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor warns that the impact of this storm will linger with bitter temperatures behind the storm. All schools in the WPXN listening area are either closed or doing remote learning today. Also most government buildings in Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion Counties are also closed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are unveiling a legislative package to help reduce violent crime in Illinois. The Senate GOP introduced a similar proposal back in October, but the bills were never considered. It’s time for their democratic colleagues to debate these ideas and stop the continued increase in crime, says Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet…

 

 

State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet. The bills include tougher penalties for violent firearm offenses and a crackdown on carjackings. Rose says they also want to start a grant program to help local police departments pay for things like hiring and training more officers, body cameras and community policing efforts.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – A 42-year-old man pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in someone’s death. Robert O’Malley turned himself in for a deadly hit-and-run in Mahomet in October 2020. He appeared in Champaign County court, where he pleaded guilty to the Class 1 felony that resulted in the death of Dr. William Schuh. That crash happened on Route 150 on October 11, 2020. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March. O’Malley faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Area GOP members continue to voice their concerns over police and criminal justice reforms passed a year ago. Among the reform changes includes the elimination of cash bail. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there have been several negative impacts because of the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Representative Bennett says several of his colleagues are working on reform measures of their own.

 

(Champaign–jc)  – C-U at Home’s 11th One Winter Night community awareness and fundraising event is coming up on Friday. The event will be headquartered at The Venue C-U, and participants will once again be scattered on sidewalks throughout downtown Champaign and various satellite locations around Champaign and even into other Illinois cities. One Winter Night participants brave the winter cold as they sleep on the streets in cardboard boxes to get a firsthand experience of what it might be like to be homeless and have no resources available.  About 140 “box dwellers” are currently registered to take part in this year’s event Organizers say just over half of the 500 thousand dollars campaign goal has been reached to date. Go on line to donate at C-U-at-home-dot-U-S.

 

(Champaign-jm) - Champaign County home sales hit record highs in December and last year. 3,325 homes sold in 2021 up 7.3 percent from 2020. 248 homes sold in December. The median price also rose in 2021 up to $176,000 from $167,700 in 2020.

 

Winter weather will be making its way through central Illinois this week

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police are investigating a shooting that occurred on North Prospect Monday evening. Police were called for shots fired near Dotty’s by the Meijer on North Prospect Avenue. No word on if anyone was injured in the shooting.

 

(Undated-jm) – Winter weather will be making its way through central Illinois this week. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from tonight through Thursday night. Forecasters say over a foot of snow is possible making travel impossible. Stay with WPXN News for the latest.

 

(Springfield-jm) – 1099-G tax forms are now available for those who collected state or federal unemployment benefits last year. If you received unemployment in 2021, you’re going to need this form to do your taxes, says Illinois Department of Employment Security Acting Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

State Department of Employment Security Acting Director Kristin Richards. Claimants who have already opted to get the form electronically should have gotten an email with instructions. Everyone else will get a paper in the mail. Again that website is: ides dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 23,797 new Coronavirus cases and 255 additional deaths since Friday. The seven day positivity rate is down to 9.1 percent. Locally since Friday, Champaign County reported 1,987 new cases and 1 additional death. Iroquois County reported 206 new cases and 4 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 302 new cases and 1 additional death. Ford County did not have a report.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton city leaders are working to address flooding issues within the community. Mayor Bill Ingold says they’ve identified some areas and are working with engineers to address the problem…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Firefighters were called to a house in Champaign Monday afternoon after a shed at that house caught fire. The fire happened at 1221 Holiday Drive. Firefighters reported flames and smoke coming from the shed when they arrived and deployed several hose lines. The fire was extinguished shortly after. Firefighters were able to determine that the fire was accidental and caused by outdoor gasoline power equipment. No one was hurt.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker will give his State of the State and Budget Address before both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the address…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. WPXN News will have the latest on the Governor’s address as well as local reaction on our afternoon news Wednesday and our morning news on Thursday.

 

(Undated-jm) – Mike Marron will face a familiar opponent in the November election. Cindy Cunningham of Royal announced she will once again seek the Democratic nomination for the 104th House District. She was defeated by Marron in 2018 and 2020.

 

(Washington-jm) – Low numbers in USDA cattle inventory report have surprised many analysts. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – There’s a renewed push for legislation ending a special surcharge on your natural gas bill. Lawmakers approved the surcharge in 2013 to help utilities pay for urgent infrastructure repairs, says Representative Joyce Mason of Gurnee…

 

 

State Representative Joyce Mason. Mason’s proposal ends the surcharge on Peoples Gas, Nicor and Ameren Illinois bills. She says families are already struggling to pay home heating costs and don’t need to be saddled with extra fees.

 

(Gifford-tr) – Even with supply chain bottlenecks causing shortages of multiple different goods throughout the country, Double Y Sales of Cissna Park owner Tom Yergler is proud to have a well stocked inventory heading into the upcoming spring season. Winter is a good time for deals on mowers, he will store your new mower and get it to you this spring...

 

 

Double Y Sales of Cissna Park owner Tom Yergler.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A new autism treatment center opened yesterday at 2301 W Bradley Avenue in Champaign. Lighthouse Autism Center offers applied behavior analysis therapy for children who are on the spectrum. This treatment includes customized plans to fit each child’s needs. They say they can enroll more than 20 kids and create 40 new jobs. Lighthouse has several locations in Indiana and Michigan – but this is their first center in Illinois.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Over 300 kids are involved in the K-5th grade Paxton Park District basketball program. Many of them even come from different towns in the area.  Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans has more about the program…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s working lands, water and wildlife partnership project is looking to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and preserve farmland around the state. Funding will go to 26 Illinois counties including Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion Counties.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – The latest farm price index report from USDA shows that 2021 ended with a surge in the prices of most commodities.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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