Listeners Club

Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!

WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-03

Lawmakers are calling for social media companies to take down digital hate speech

(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers are calling for social media companies to take down digital hate speech. While social media is a great way to connect with people, it also has a dark side, says Senator Laura Fine of Glenview…

 

 

State Senator Laura Fine of Glenview. Fine and some of her colleagues were joined by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which put together a report on the rise of hate speech in the past year. The Center gave C grades to facebook, twitter and tiktok for policing hate material.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State of Illinois community-based COVID-19 testing sites will be closing at the end of the month. According to a news release from Reditus Laboratories, the decision to close the sites starting March 31 comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In February, IDPH decided to reduce testing to three days a week due to reduced demand, and the availability of at-home tests.

 

 

(Penfield-tr) – The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club is hosting a consignment auction Saturday, March 26th at the I&I Show Grounds. I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter shares some featured items… 

 

 

 I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Parkland College Foundation will be hosting the 2022 Day of Giving scholarship fundraiser on Thursday, March 31. Starting at 12 a.m. and running to midnight, individuals, businesses, and groups are asked to visit www.parkland.edu/GivingDay, search for a fund they care about , and donate any amount. During the 2021 Parkland Day of Giving, the community raised over $93,000 that went directly to Parkland College and thousands of deserving students.

 

(Champaign county-tr) – The Crisis Nursery in Urbana will finish off their Goods Giveaway and Delivery Week back at the nursery. Crisis Nursery Family Specialist Taylor Wallis says everyone will be at the nursery to help assist today.. 

 

 

Crisis Nursery Family Specialist Taylor Wallis.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing $1.4 million in grants for school libraries. Locally: Armstrong Potomac, Cissna Park, Fisher, GCMS, Iroquois West, Milford, Rantoul Township High School, St. Joseph Community and St. Joseph Ogden High Schools are all receiving $850. Hoopeston area is receiving $941. PBL is receiving $1,082. Rantoul City Schools $1,396. Mahomet Seymour $2,754. Urbana Schools $3,384 and Champaign Schools $8,646.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Ameren Illinois partnered with the Paxton Fire Department and 14 other departments for a live line demonstration for Firefighters around the area earlier this week. Ameren Illinois Community Relations Coordinator Karley Combest shares a tip about what to do if you're ever stuck in your vehicle with down power lines around you… 

 

 

Ameren Illinois Community Relations Coordinator Karley Combest.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The unemployment rate was down and jobs were up last month in Illinois. The February jobless rate fell to four point eight percent, down from five percent in January says State Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

State Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. The biggest gains were seen in the trade, transportation and utilities sector as well as the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing industries.

 

(Paxton-dg)-Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran made the decision to temporarily close the Ford County Courthouse yesterday afternoon when it was discovered that the Communications tower next the the facility was possibly unstable. The courthouse will be closed today so structural engineers can determine if the structure is in  immediate danger of collapsing.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved its annual five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Program to start implementing highway-rail safety capital projects for local roads across the state. For the next five years, the ICC is expected to spend $386 million to help communities and railroads pay for improvements at nearly 900 crossing locations. Illinois is second only to Texas in the total number of highway-rail crossings.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The Paxton Park District has yet to make an announcement about being able to swim at the community pool this year. Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans says the pool is facing financial issues. However, a plan is in place to help the public understand those issues… 

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans.


 

(St. Joseph-jm) – Back in January, the Village of Saint Joseph board voted in favor to put up honorary street signs for fallen officer, Lieutenant Aaron Landers, and former mayor BJ Hackler. According to village officials, they plan to put up the street signs either next month, or if not, no later than May. They are currently waiting for the weather to warm up before following through with the plan.

 

(Ford-Iroquois-tr) – The Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Foundation is offering scholarships to seniors that come from a Farm Bureau member family and who are seeking a future in ag related fields. Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says this scholarship has helped many seniors over the past 20 years…

 

 

Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man with several prior convictions has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for having a gun. Javontae Williams pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Williams was arrested last May after an altercation with his ex girlfriend where he allegedly punched her and pulled out a gun. Williams was also linked to a 2013 stabbing in Rantoul although no charges were filed after the victim refused to cooperate.

 

(Paxton-tr) – There is a surprise in downtown Paxton that is currently in the works after a generous donation was made.  It’s a new downtown clock. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says it may take a few months to arrive… 

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

Parkland College will host a Parkland Preview event for high school seniors today from 12-2 in the Student Union.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Girl Scouts on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Gifford Lions Club will be hosting a chicken dinner at the Gifford Community Building on Sunday from 10:30-1. Cost is a free will donation.

 

 

Advocates are celebrating the one year anniversary of a law cracking down on payday loans

(Springfield-jm) – Republicans in the Illinois House continue to push for tougher anti-crime measures. Violent crime has been rising and is only getting worse, says Representative Chris Bos of Lake Zurich. He says the GOP has offered several proposals to address the problem, but none have been considered…

 

 

State Representative Chris Bos of Lake Zurich. Bos and his colleagues blame the increase in crime in part on the passage of last year’s “Safe-T Act” which he says puts criminals first.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An analysis by a moving company shows people continue to flee the Land of Lincoln. The Allied Magnet States report shows Illinois had the highest percentage of outbound residents in the country in 2021. Of the total number of people moving over the Illinois state line, 68% were moving away while 32% were inbound. For the past five years, Illinois has been in the top ten for the top outbound states, along with California, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Volunteer fire department chiefs have a battle on their hands that doesn't involve burning homes or car crashes.  They face a shortage of new recruits and trouble retaining experienced volunteers.  Now, a new proposal could help recruit and retain firefighters in these vital roles. In an effort to bolster the ranks of volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Service workers, state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give volunteers a $500 tax credit on their Illinois income tax return, providing that  the volunteer emergency worker has not receive compensation for his or her services of more than $10,000 for the taxable year. The bill was co-sponsored by 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-dg)-A new Paxton business is having a soft opening. The Paxton Washbarn is now open on the city’s west side across from Cobblestone hotel. The Paxton Wash Barn offers a state of the art automatic touchless car wash, 2 self-serve bays and 2 vacuum units. A grand opening will be held soon.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – A man was sentenced to 13 years in the Department of Corrections in connection to a deadly hit-and-run crash. Robert O’Malley was sentenced Wednesday. He was taken to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office to await transportation to the Department of Corrections. O’Malley turned himself in for a hit-and-run crash that resulted in the death of Dr. William Schuh in October of 2020. It happened along Route 150 in Mahomet. Upon release, O’Malley will be required to have one year of supervised release.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A 32-year-old man was recently arrested in connection to two separate incidents of public indecency and disorderly conduct. According to University of Illinois Police, Michael Campbell was accused of following a student into a women’s restroom in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on March 11, lowering his pants and touched his genitals in an obscene manner. Officers said Campbell was also accused of running around naked in an area near South Lincoln Avenue in Urbana on March 14.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Rantoul Sports Complex in Rantoul is entering its second year of operation with big expectations. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Sports Operations Ryan Reed says year 1 of operation went really well even with covid… 

 

 

 Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Sports Operations Ryan Reed. 

 

(Paxton-tr) – Ameren Illinois partnered with the Paxton Fire Department and 14 other partners for a live line demonstration for Firefighters around the area. Ameren Illinois Community Relations Coordinator Karley Combest said over 85 Firefighters were in attendance… 

 

 

Ameren Illinois Community Relations Coordinator Karley Combest. During an emergency, local police, fire and medical personnel are first on the scene. These trainings help to ensure they have the information they need about our infrastructure to better perform in the case of an electric or natural gas emergency."

 

(Urbana-jm) – A shooting victim has turned his experience into an opportunity to help his community, and he’s expanding his not-for-profit organization. Jonathan Blake started a group called Citizens Against Gun Violence after someone started shooting at him in Urbana last year. He is now reaching out to city leaders for help. Blake said after his incident, he planned on donating 100 Ring doorbells to his community. That number later turned to 800. Now, he’s asking the city to help him find a short-term fix to help in the long-term solution.

 

(Danville-jm) – OSF in Danville got some new technology to help cancer patients. They got a new True Beam Radiotherapy System after waiting for a month to install it. The new technology will allow doctors to discover and treat tumors faster and more precisely. They were able to pay for it with a $3 million donation from Julius Hegeler’s estate.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Advocates are celebrating the one year anniversary of a law cracking down on payday loans. The Predatory Loan Prevention Act capped payday loan interest rates at 36 percent, ending a practice of legalized loan sharking, says Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago. She notes this has helped end the cycle of debt and bankruptcy, especially for minority families…

 

 

State Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago. Supporters say in just one year, the act has saved Illinois consumers over 200 million dollars in fees for high-cost loans.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Spring is here and many anglers can’t wait to get out on the water and start fishing again, but annual fishing licenses are set to expire soon. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, sport fishing licenses purchased last year are valid until March 31. It is $15 for Illinois residents 16 and older to buy a new license for 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – In a move that will literally cost billions of dollars in higher taxes on Illinois jobs, House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday evening which drastically underfunds Illinois' unemployment insurance Trust Fund. At issue is an underfunded trust fund whose deficit can be filled with American Rescue Plan Act money. Late last night, Illinois Democrats had a simple choice, use the ARPA funding to pay off our unemployment insurance trust fund debt, or impose a tax hike on jobs. As they so often do, they chose a tax hike on jobs. State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur told his colleagues this is going to be a tax on every worker and job in the state of Illinois…

 

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s office is asking the public for help in solving a burglary that happened earlier this week. Deputies said that on Tuesday, someone stole a Chromebook laptop, cash and a debit card from a car in Tolono Township. The debit card was later used at a Champaign business and the suspect was photographed on store security cameras. Anyone with information on the suspect’s identity is asked to contact the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 217-384-1213. Information can be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 217-373-8477.

 

(Springfield-tr) – The negotiations on the state budget are currently ongoing according to 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman. Barickman went on to say that Illinois has already received plenty of federal dollars…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman.


 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man on probation for reckless discharge of a firearm has been sentenced to more probation in two different cases. Demaris Miner pleaded guilty to possession of between 2,000 and 5,000 grams of cannabis in one case and driving under the influence in the other case. A Champaign County judge sentenced Miner to 3 years probation and 10 days home confinement for the DUI charge.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign announced that in order to perform routine storm sewer maintenance activities, there will be a single-lane closure for traffic traveling on West Windsor Road and South Mattis Avenue until Friday. Road work is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The work is weather dependent and may be delayed if there is inclement weather.

Illinois Department of Human Services awards four million dollars in grants to help students prepare for a career in behavioral health

(Springfield-jm) – Six months after state lawmakers approved a $694 million government subsidy to prop up Exelon’s aging nuclear power plants at Byron and Dresden, a new plan in the Illinois House could allow for expansion of nuclear energy production at other locations. Preserving Illinois’ massive nuclear reactors was a key linchpin of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, but another portion of Illinois energy law adopted more than three decades ago bans any new construction on nuclear plants. Representative Mark Walker of Arlington Heights sponsored a measure that would allow data centers, factories, or other large energy consumers to install smaller nuclear microreactors on site to help lighten the load on the rest of the energy grid that is becoming increasingly reliant on wind and solar energy. Last year, the University of Illinois wrote a letter seeking a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and study a test reactor facility on campus. If Walker’s plan becomes law, the university research could help kickstart expansion of nuclear microreactors across the state.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Human Services is awarding four million dollars in grants to help students prepare for a career in behavioral health. The innovative program aims to train those who battle their own mental health or addiction issues to work as certified recovery support specialists, says DHS Spokesperson Marisa Kollias…

 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Marisa Kollias. The idea is for program graduates to offer hope and related experience to others who are struggling. Schools participating include the College of DuPage, Heartland Community College, the Institute of Technology and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A 16-year-old was recently arrested in connection to the death of a Lyft driver who was shot and killed in Urbana in January. Tyjohn G. Williams is the third suspect arrested. Williams is charged with first-degree murder. On January 12, police were dispatched to the area of Vine and Burkwood at around 6:30 p.m. in response to an unknown problem. When they got there, officers found a man lying in the road. The victim was quickly taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was determined that the victim was shot once in the back. The victim was identified as 29-year-old Kristian D. Philpotts of Chicago, according to the Champaign County coroner. Soon after the incident happened, police arrested two teenagers, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old. Initial investigation indicates that this homicide was a robbery attempt when the victim was working.

 

(Ford County-tr) – A walkthrough Health Fair is being planned for April 8th at the Living word Parking lot located in Roberts. Ford County Walkthrough Health Fair Spokesperson Tim Nuss is asking any willing medical professionals to help out… 

 

 

Ford County Walk Through Health Fair Spokesperson Tim Nuss. Anyone wishing to reach out and assist or for any questions please call Beth at 217-554-9122. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois officials said their faculty, staff and students will need to test once a week if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In a news release, UI officials said those without a university-verified vaccinated record in the MyMcKinley Portal will have to test once per week. This is a change from testing required every other day. The university will continue maintaining the testing requirement until the governor lifts the executive order that requires all unvaccinated higher education personnel and students to test once per week.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill lowering the cost of college course materials passed the Illinois Senate’s Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and is on its way to the Senate floor. The bill, introduced and passed by the Illinois House of Representatives, would allow students to receive digital access to online course materials at a significantly reduced cost on the first day of class.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court is looking to further the use of remote proceedings. A new task force will evaluate current remote practices and how to improve virtual hearings across the state. Chief Justice Anne Burke says the pandemic really pushed courts into the practice…

 

 

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke. Burke says remote proceedings have been beneficial in many ways including case management and reducing the number of people who fail to appear in court.

 

(Champaign-jm) – City Manager Dorothy Ann David has selected three finalists to interview for the Chief of Police position for the City of Champaign. These individuals are Angela Coonce, Bryce Johnson and Timothy T. Tyler. Officials said details, including biographical information and a video statement from each finalist, are now available on the City’s website. All finalists will be in Champaign to participate in a comprehensive interview process from March 28 to March 30. The City invites the public to meet the finalists during a community open house on March 29 from 7:00-8:30 p.m.. This event will be held at the Illinois Terminal’s CityView Room.


 

(Penfield-tr) – The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club will be hosting their I&I Toy Auction at 5pm, Friday Night March 25th at the I&I Club Hall. I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter says over 350 items will be featured this year…

 

 

I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter. On Saturday, starting at 10am the outdoor equipment auction will take place. The I&I Club is raising money for the Mayfield, KY Tornado Relief Fund. If you would like to donate an item to the auction on behalf of the relief fund, let Chuck Stelter know when you consign the item.

 

(Urbana-jm) – If you’ve ever driven down Florida Avenue in Urbana, you’ve probably endured a bumpy ride. Florida is ranked 35 out of 100 in a City of Urbana assessment for worst streets to drive on. City leaders want that fixed; they say Florida is one of the most commonly used roads for travel around town. The City of Urbana is applying for a federal grant for nearly $12 million to repair the road. If approved, construction would take place on Florida between Vine Street and Wright Street. If the grant application is accepted by the federal government, Urbana can expect to see the funds in mid-August. The project would be completed around 2025.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says state officials are closely monitoring the new COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says state officials are closely monitoring the new COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant. Although Illinois is currently in good shape, the B-A-Two variant is a concern, says the Governor. So far, it doesn’t seem to be having the effect here as in other parts of the world…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says the state is ready for a potential surge, with plenty of tests and more COVID treatments available. He’s asking schools to have a solid testing plan in place in the event cases begin to rise again.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There's more pressure to fight corruption at the statehouse. This comes after the bombshell 22 count indictment against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, and former Senator Tom Cullerton pleading guilty to embezzlement charges. One lawmaker wants to make sure people who are convicted of felonies while they are serving in office aren't able to run again. Under current Illinois law, someone can run for a state office after they've committed a felony and served their sentence, unless it's election fraud. However, they're barred from holding any kind of municipal office. House Bill 5046, which would bar someone from holding a state or municipal office if they committed a felony while they are serving in office.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is launching a state overdose action plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois. The plan aims to prevent overdose deaths and tackle the ramifications of battling a drug addiction, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The initiative includes things like a mobile van offering medication-assisted recovery, deploying more narcan kits and help specifically for minorities with an addiction.

 

(Savoy-jm) – An interesting sight was caught coming from Willard Airport Monday. A C-130 Hercules flew into the airport. It was a National Guard unit out of Peoria doing some training. They did a couple touch-and-go’s and went on their way.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The PBL school district just let some bids go for an HVAC project at the Junior High. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says excluding the gymnasium and locker rooms, everything else is already air conditioned… 

 

 

PBL Superintendent CLiff McClure.

 

(Urbana-jm) – This week Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in collecting more information about a deadly shooting that happened on March 5. According to Urbana Police, at around 10:45 p.m., they were dispatched to an apartment complex on Welch Drive in response to a report of a shooting. When police arrived at the scene, they found 26-year-old Henry Golden with life-threatening injuries. He was taken to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Police also said another victim arrived at the hospital by personal transport and he is recovering from his injuries. The preliminary investigation indicates the shooting stemmed from a disagreement outside a house party in the complex. Surveillance video revealed there were several potential witnesses in the area at the time of the shooting. Police are asking anyone with information, photographs, or video recordings captured in the area prior to or after the incident, or from inside or outside the party, to come forward.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Deputy Secretary Monday shared insight on how USDA will provide support in development of a new Farm Bill. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers have just three weeks left in the session and lots of unfinished business. Some of their key priorities for this session have yet to be introduced. Lawmakers will leave the Capitol earlier than usual this year because of the state primaries. The elections, usually held in March, were pushed to June as lawmakers awaited census data to redraw legislative maps. The state budget is the top priority. Tax relief is another hot topic. Republicans have introduced a measure to cap the sales tax on gasoline amid rising prices, and the governor is looking to temporarily suspend sales tax on groceries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – More than 100 thousand Illinois workers are now enrolled in the state’s “Secure Choice” retirement savings program. Many employers are required to offer the program if they don’t have any sort of retirement benefit already set up. It’s run by Treasurer Mike Frerichs Office…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Secure Choice began in 2018 and is a vital program, says Frerichs. He notes that nearly half of all working age families have nothing saved for retirement.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The City of Urbana is asking the public for its thoughts about old U of I fraternity and sorority houses in their neighborhoods. The city government is planning to discuss zoning changes to help preserve Greek houses at its next neighborhood meeting on March 29. That meeting will happen through Zoom and will be open to the public. Additionally, people can take an online survey to express their views. More info can be found on the City of Urbana’s website.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Youth baseball and softball signups are currently underway here in Paxton for anyone interested in playing this season. Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans took time to share a few deadlines for entry… 

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans. 

 

(Savoy-jm) – A two vehicle crash took place in Champaign County on Saturday. It happened on Dunlap Avenue at Curtis Road in Savoy around 9:00 p.m. The crash involved a Champaign County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. Illinois State Police District 10 Troopers responded to this accident. Officials said a 2010 Black Nissan Altima tried turning left from Dunlap Road onto Curtis Road, but a 2020 White Ford Explorer driven by the deputy failed to yield the right of way. That’s when the Nissan hit the squad car. The driver and passenger of the squad car were hospitalized with injuries, while the driver of the Altima refused medical attention. The driver of the Altima was also cited for failing to yield at an intersection.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. and United Kingdom trade officials are meeting in Baltimore through Tuesday to discuss various aspects of their trade relationship. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new Children's Behavioral Health Initiative

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. The idea is to evaluate current practices and make it easier for families to access the support their child needs, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Areas to be examined include eligibility for levels of care, barriers to programs and the needs of kids with various behavioral health concerns. A report is due at the end of this year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois could become the first state in the nation to give prisoners the right to vote while they're incarcerated. You can already vote when you get out of prison in Illinois, but now, there's a new push to allow prisoners to vote during their sentence. This is actually the second year lawmakers are pushing for this bill. The law didn't pass last year by just a handful of votes. It would allow people convicted of felonies to vote in elections, and require election authorities to partner with prisons to make it happen. The state board of elections would also have to release reports on their efforts to help voters in custody. If the law passes, the prisoner would be able to cast an absentee ballot for their home elections.

 

(Springfield-tr) – One of the biggest news stories to come out of Springfield this month was the indictment of former House Speaker Michael Madigan on 22 corruption charges. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City  weighed in on the indictment of Madigan…

 


106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Madigan pleaded not guilty last week. After a year’s long investigation the federal prosecutors are now alleging that he used power to financially benefit him and those close to him. The public will have to wait until Madigan’s day in court. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for firing a gun inside a house during an argument with his child’s mother. Michael Berry pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to reckless discharge of a firearm after admitting he grabbed a gun and fired it into the floor of the living room in the house he was sharing with the woman. 

 

(Champaign county-tr) – The Crisis Nursery in Urbana has kicked off their outreach program in Broadlands to help families in need. Other stops this week include Fisher, Thomasboro, and Ludlow. Crisis Nursery Family Specialist Taylor Wallis says the Crisis Nursery offers many programs to the public… 

 

 

Crisis Nursery Family Specialist Taylor Wallis. You can call the nursery at 217-337-2730 with any questions about this outreach program and communities involved or text 217-636-4221 to sign up. The Crisis Nursery is asking for a 24hour notice before your town’s drop off date. Friday’s giveaway will be held at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Ford County Board members are searching far and wide for candidates for the county’s supervisor of assessments position, as they agreed to send letters about the job opportunity to all 31 people who passed the Illinois Department of Revenue’s supervisor of assessments exam within the past two years. Resumes for the full-time position are due Wednesday, March 23.

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Board is looking into building a facility in order to safely operate Animal Control after a local partner moved across the country. Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure says he is thankful for Ford County lending a helping hand… 

 

 

Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure

 

(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers are working on bills to close loopholes in Illinois sexual assault laws. One measure is sponsored by Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville and is based on a case in another state. A young woman unknowingly slept with a man pretending to be her boyfriend. He was charged and later acquitted…

 

 

State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville. Stuart’s bill makes this a felony crime in Illinois. Another clarifies state law so that a person is unable to give consent even if they are unconscious because of something they drank or took themselves.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report says Illinois’ population with people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase by over 13% over the next few years. The Alzheimer’s Association  predicts the number of residents 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase from 230,000 to 260,000 by 2025. The report says the cost of taking care of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. will reach $1 trillion by 2050 as the population ages.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Some progress was made in paying back debt we owe to the unemployment trust fund. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City provides an update…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana teen has been sentenced to 10 years in  prison for possessing a machine gun. Ontario Walls pleaded guilty to the charge after he robbed a person at gunpoint in January. When he was arrested officers found a fully automatic 9 mm firearm with 14 rounds of ammunition and the victim's phone.

 

(Ford-Iroquois-tr) – Ford and Iroquois County farmers are having concerns over market shifts as the price of certain commodities have risen quite dramatically in recent weeks. Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says suppliers are working diligently to fulfill the needs of local farmers… 

 

 

Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Police report an arrest has been made in the recent homicide investigation of Brandon McClendon.  According to police,on March 18, 2022, the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Cherell Ingram, 35, of Champaign with four counts of Murder and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Ingram is presently in custody at the Champaign County Correctional Center. According to authorities, on March 16, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Champaign Police responded to the 400 block of Ginger Bend Drive for a report of a shooting with injury. Upon arrival, officers located McClendon, who was suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds to the torso outside of an apartment. Officers rendered medical aid on-scene until he could be transported to Carle Foundation Hospital. McClendon was pronounced dead at 7:31 p.m. in the hospital's emergency room. 

 

Crisis Nursery will be hosting a goods giveaway and delivery week March 21st-25th. They will be in Broadlands March 21st, Fisher March 22nd, Thomasboro March 23rd, Ludlow March 24th and at their location on West Hill Street in Urbana on March 25th.

 

Parkland College will host a Parkland Preview event for high school seniors on Friday, March 25th from 12-2 in the Student Union.

 

Applying for a cannabis dispensary license in Illinois should get easier

(Springfield-jm) – The Department of Children and Family Services has been called out in court once again. A Cook County juvenile court judge hit Director Marc Smith with his seventh contempt of court order in just 10 weeks. This time, for a boy who has been living in a temporary shelter for over a year. This is a child with highly specialized needs. A court ordered DCFS to place him last March, and now a year later, he still has no place to go.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Applying for a cannabis dispensary license in Illinois should get easier. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is filing rules to simplify the cannabis dispensary license application process, remove barriers for social equity applicants, and expand opportunities targeted to the communities most impacted by the war on drugs. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is required by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to issue at least 50 new adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses by the end of 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Democrats have put together new legislation addressing the war on Ukraine. Bill sponsor, Representative Lindsey LaPointe of Chicago says this is one of the most comprehensive state responses to the war…

 

 

State Representative Lindsey LaPointe of Chicago. The measure also creates a Ukrainian refugee settlement program and sets up a state money laundering and real estate task force to weed out illicit connections to Russia.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana tradition took place once again on Thursday. The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade ran through downtown on West Main Street. It happened between Race Street and Broadway Avenue – just one city block – and lasted for only 10 minutes. The first parade was held in 2016 and has been a fun favorite ever since.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The Rantoul Fire Department is now accepting applications from city residents to become firefighters. Duties include responding to incidents, attending ongoing training and operating and using apparatus equipment to which assigned. The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent, a valid Illinois driver’s license and the ability to be certified as a Firefighter Basic within three years of appointment on the Fire Department. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, reside in Rantoul and must pass a physical agility test and a written skills exam along with a background check. People may apply online or by visiting the Rantoul Municipal Building at 333 South Tanner Street from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Applications are due by April 15.

 

(St. Joseph-tr) – Wyldewood Cellars in St. Joseph is expanding its production to better serve the residents of St. Joseph. Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges shares an update on that expansion… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Champaign man who died in a shooting. Northrup says 25 year old Brandon McClendon died at Carle Foundation Hospital. Champaign Police say they were called to the 400 block of Ginger Bend Drive Wednesday night for a shooting with injuries.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Champaign County Forest Preserve District was recently awarded $726,900 in grant funding by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Museum Capital Grant Program. This will support the construction of an improved Discovery Garden, replacement greenhouse and program facility at the Museum of the Grand Prairie, located in the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve. According to officials, the new facility will provide plant production space for the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, conservatory space open to the public and for programs, restrooms for preserve patrons and indoor/outdoor classroom space for garden interpretation programs. The facility will improve energy efficiency by replacing the existing 52-year-old, inefficient greenhouse.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's latest look at the dairy industry is forecasting a record high all-milk price. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Loda American Legion on Saturday from 10-2.

 

(Undated-jm) – Tow truck driving can be a dangerous job when workers are along the interstate cleaning up the scene of an accident or towing a vehicle away. After the loss of Ross Booker, local tow truck drivers are asking if something can be done to make their jobs easier. Booker was killed by a 16-year-old after a Scott's Law violation in early March. They want to see if drivers can use red and blue lights on their trucks, along with the white and amber they already use. It would only be used during recovery or towing on busy roads and interstates or in instances of public assistance like changing a tire. While this will not be appearing in front of the General Assembly immediately, legislators said it is something they want to look into.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to distribute more than $586,000 over a three-year period thanks to funding allocated in the Specialty Crop Block Grant program in the federal Farm Bill. The funding would help expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry.  Application for grant funding is available on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website and must be returned to the Department by 4:00 p.m. on April 15.  To be eligible for funding, all projects must begin in calendar year 2023. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local and government entities, trade and commodity associations, public and private colleges/universities.  

 

(Springfield-jm) – The January unemployment rate was down in all 14 Illinois metro areas. This was the 10th month in a row for a decline in the jobless rate compared to one year ago, says State Department of Employment Security Acting Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

State Department of Employment Security Acting Director Kristin Richards. All but Champaign-Urbana and Kankakee enjoyed job growth as well in January. Industries that saw the most growth include leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade and government.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Covid-19 numbers are going down in Champaign County. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department counted 197 cases in the last two weeks. Last March, staff counted more than 700 cases. The health department says the habits that have emerged from COVID-19 will remain despite masking and social distancing requirements changing. The health department adds masking may become a norm especially when we see cases go up, during the winter months and flu-season being right around the corner.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The Paxton Buckley Loda school district is currently preparing to install many more electrical outlets throughout the highschool. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says having so few outlets may have been okay years ago when the high school was built, but not in 2022… 

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education recently announced the hiring of Dr. Kenny Lee as the new superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour Schools. Dr. Lee is currently in his sixth year of serving as superintendent of the Minooka Community High School District #111. Prior to being in this position, he served as the superintendent of Iroquois County CUSD #9 in Watseka for six years. Lee is originally from Paxton.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Plans for the University of Illinois System’s new Access 2030 initiative to increase the number of graduates from ethnic and racial minorities were introduced to the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Thursday. Access 2030 is being created to increase the number of graduates from underrepresented groups by 50 percent by the end of the decade. This will include students from disadvantaged backgrounds — ethnic and racial, rural and urban. The new initiative is intended to increase equity and diversity across the U of I System universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

 

(Washington-jm) – China's purchases of U.S. agricultural products are falling below levels of a year ago. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

Illinois House Republicans say it's time to do something about rising consumer prices

(Springfield-jm) – A new poll shows Illinoisans believe teachers and parents should have the biggest say in how schools are being run, more so than politicians and school administrators. The Illinois Education Association released its fourth annual State of Education report and includes a variety of topics. The poll also revealed more public awareness about staffing shortages in Illinois schools. Seventy-seven percent of people said they were worried about teacher shortages.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has announced his office collected over $990 million in revenue through litigation and collection efforts in 2021. The AG’s office was able to bring in $331 million through collections litigation, including cases involving the collection of funds for damage to state property, child support enforcement, fines and penalties.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police says the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress late last year will help reduce traffic fatalities. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will build and repair roads and bridges, but also features provisions that will help law enforcement keep people safe, says State Police Director Brendan Kelly. One requires anti-drunk driving technology…

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. There will also be new car bumper and hood standards to protect pedestrians and cyclists in case of an accident. Kelly says the act also includes money to study new strategies for educating the public about move over law.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois House of Representatives recently passed a resolution honoring a woman who contributed a great deal of service to the state of Illinois during her life. Kay Clabaugh McGuire was involved in many different organizations throughout her life, including the Board of Directors at Paxton Community Hospital, Salt & Light Ministry and on committees with local Chambers of Commerce, Parkland College, the University of Illinois. She passed away on February 25th.

 

(Springfield-tr) – Property taxes continue to be a concern for all home and business building owners in the state. 53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman shares his concern for Illinois taxpayers when it comes to their high property taxes… 

 

 

53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A 79-year-old man whose body was recovered from Lake Vermilion water after he went under Tuesday has been identified. The Vermilion County Sheriff's Department said it was dispatched to a call at Lake Vermilion County Park about a male that went into the water to try and get to his boat, which had floated away from the dock. The man has been identified by the coroner as James F. Walker of Danville. 

 

(Washington-jm) – One grain trade analyst says predicting potential Ukrainian crop production and exports is almost impossible because there are too many unknowns involved.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Roberts–jc)  –  A banquet and auction is set for Saturday in Roberts to benefit Pheasants Forever. The local Illinois Pioneer Pheasants Forever Chapter in Ford County is hosting the event. Chapter President Dave Kaeding says tickets remain available for the event and auction…

 

 

Illinois Pheasants Forever Chapter 69 President Dave Kaeding.

 

The 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.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report shows that Illinoisans are split on whether to ban critical race theory in schools, but experts say politics are heavily influencing the idea. Critical race theory is studied in higher education. It's the idea that racism and other inequities are ingrained into our social, economic, and legal systems. A bipartisan report from the Illinois Education Association shows, 46% strongly or somewhat favoring a ban and 50% somewhat opposing or strongly opposing a ban. Of the people surveyed who said they support banning Critical Race Theory, 82% favored education about slavery and 65% favored education about racism.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois' sportsbooks started the year with a surge of betting with a monthly handle in January totalling nearly $870 million. Joe Boozell with PlayIllinois.com said with the extended NFL regular season and expanded playoffs, the sports calendar was favorable. On March 5, Illinois removed the in-person registration requirements and allowed sports bettors to register on their phones.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Republicans say it’s time to do something about rising consumer prices. The GOP has proposed relief measures such as suspending the sales tax on gas when inflation hits a certain level. But Representative Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis says unfortunately, those bills haven’t gotten anywhere…

 

 

State Representative Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis. Governor J-B Pritzker has also offered some ideas such as removing the one percent sales tax on groceries for one year, but Republicans say they don’t go far enough to provide real relief.


(McLean County-jm) – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed that bird flu was recently found in a non-commercial backyard flock of birds in McLean County. Anyone who owns birds or is involved with poultry production should be aware of this finding and is advised to take precautions to protect their flock. The Illinois Department of Agriculture quarantined the affected premises and the birds on that property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from these flocks will not enter the food system.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Those traveling in downtown Paxton are seeing the start of the city's “Streetscape” program. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says  the street lights and poles along with the sidewalks are the first part of the renovation project…. 

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Bourbonnais-tr) – On March 15, 2022, Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Zone 3 officials arrested Creighton R. Boswell, a 19-year-old male of Bourbonnais, IL, for Possession of Child Pornography (Class 2 Felony). Following an extensive investigation, ISP Investigators made contact with Boswell in the 100 block of N. Kinzie Avenue in Bradley, IL. Several child pornography files were located on an electronic device belonging to Boswell. Boswell is currently being held at the Jerome Combs Detention Center pending a bond hearing. The investigation remains open and on-going. No further information is available at this time. 

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's latest look at meat trade raises its forecast for U.S. beef exports. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Country Music recording artist, Chris Janson is coming to the Ford County Fair

(Vermilion County-jm) – A 79-year-old man was recovered from the Lake Vermilion water after going under Tuesday.  The Vermilion County Sheriff's Department said it was dispatched Tuesday to a call at Lake Vermilion County Park about a male that went into the water to try and get to his boat, which had floated away from the dock. A female witness watched him go into the lake and did not see him resurface. She got into the water and tried to rescue him, but could not locate him.  At about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the sheriff's department underwater search and rescue dive team recovered the man from the water. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – 17-year-old Ontario Walls agreed to prosecution in adult court and pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful use of a weapon for possessing a fully automatic firearm on January 14. Pursuant to an agreement between Walls and the State’s Attorney’s Office, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Due to his age, Walls will begin serving that sentence in the Department of Juvenile Justice and then be transferred to the Department of Corrections when he turns 18. On January 14, Champaign Police investigated an armed robbery in which the victim reported he was selling a phone and the suspect stole the phone from him at gunpoint. Officers located Walls in the area and found a 9mm handgun in his front pocket.

 

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Board is currently reviewing legislation that would require a license to host raffles and poker runs here in Iroquois County. Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure says at this time the board is going to re-evaluate the proposed legislation…

 

 

Iroquois County Board Chairman John Shure

 

(Urbana-jm) – The city of Urbana is taking steps to stop the cycle of gun violence and provide support for victims. The city is considering funding a temporary apartment or house for victims, paid for with federal COVID-19 dollars or possibly general funds. This would ensure victims have somewhere safe to stay, while they make plans for the future. Advocates hope this will break the cycle of violence and help victims heal.

 

(Ford-Iroquois-tr) – Ford and Iroquois County farmers are looking to start planting early this season. Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says most farmers are keeping a 50/50 rotation this year but have concerns of supply issues… 

 

 

Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – A St. Joseph man on bond for an unresolved drug and gun case is facing more charges. Kameron Farmer is charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine after a deputy stopped his vehicle for expired plates. Deputies found 80 grams of cocaine, 12 grams of cannabis and 12 Adderall pills. Bond was set at $500,000. He’s due back in court April 19th.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA is expecting tighter U.S. corn ending stocks -- largely for two main reasons. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The State Board of Education is awarding millions of dollars in grants to help support the mental health of students and teachers. The 136 grants total over 86 million dollars and are going to districts around the state to address the various needs of Illinois schoolchildren. The Board’s Director of Wellness Cara Wiley says programs being funded include…

 

 

State Board of Education Director of Wellness Cara Wiley. Other areas that can be addressed are substance abuse, college prep, mental health screenings and fitness activities for both students and staff.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The 18-year-old suspect in a shooting near Centennial High School six months ago will be tried as an adult, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz. Montres Reed was 17 years old at the time of the incident, which happened on September 15. Police officers responded to shots-fired incident near the school that day and found 13 shell casings in two separate spots, which led them to believe there were multiple shooters. After interviewing witnesses and finding surveillance footage, they identified Reed and Novodny Lemons as suspects. Reed was identified as having fired the two shots officers found in one spot. witnesses reported an argument between Reed and Lemons in the parking lot of Piccadilly Beverage Shop prior to the shooting. The argument was due to apparent disrespect of a shooting victim from Danville. Reed and Lemons are both charged with one count of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, a class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison. Lemon’s case was already transferred from juvenile to adult court. Both are being held on $250,000 bonds. Reed is set to appear in court on April 19.


 

(Melvin-jm) – Country fans rejoice, Chris Janson is coming to the Ford County Fair. The platinum-selling artist will headline on June 17 at the fairgrounds in Melvin. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. on Friday. You can buy them online. The tickets include fair admission, parking, and carnival rides, according to fair officials.

 

(St. Joseph -tr) – Honorary signs will be placed in St. Joseph to honor local residents who served the village in remarkable ways. Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges has more about the project… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges

 

(Champaign-jm) – As Spring approaches, the City of Champaign wants people to get their yards ready for it. The city announced the dates of its 2022 Spring Yard Waste Collection, with the two zones in the city each having a collection date in April and May. Homes located in the Orange Zone will have their collection dates on April 11 and May 9. Homes located in the Blue Zone will have their collection dates on April 18 and May 16. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Prices for U.S. soybeans are strong and are likely to rise a bit more. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Gasoline thefts being reported in Iroquois County

(Iroquois County-jm) – The Iroquois County Sheriff's Office is investigating several reported thefts of hundreds of gallons of gasoline from rural farm sites in the Gilman, Onarga, and Thawville areas. Police say the majority of reports involved on site fuel thefts, but in some cases the victims reported their bulk fuel tanks being taken. Given the recent increase in fuel prices and the state of the economy as a whole, the Sheriff's Office would like to remind the public that an increase in the cost of goods and services and a rise in burglaries and thefts go hand in hand.  The Sheriff's Office also recommends everyone take the necessary steps to properly and effectively secure your property, but also asks everyone to be vigilant of suspicious activity and if detected report it to 911. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Flood Safety Week and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some important reminders. One of the biggest tips is to avoid flooded areas altogether, no matter how shallow you think it might be. IEMA Spokesperson Kevin Sur says just six inches of moving water can take a person down, and 12 inches can move a car…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Kevin Sur. Sur says you should also avoid bridges over fast moving flood waters. Learn more about flooding including clean up, online at: ready dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On March 7th, Dewey Couch of Rankin and Eric Couch of Rantoul were arrested on in-state warrants.  On March 12th, Valerie Zachgo of Gibson City was arrested for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. Steven Campbell of Gibson City was also arrested on March 12th for domestic battery.

 

(Thomasboro-jm) – A Chicago man has been charged with armed violence after police found drugs and a loaded weapon in his vehicle. Melvin Ector was charged with possession with intent to deliver cannabis, possession of cannabis and aggravated unlawful use of weapons after he was stopped on I-57 between Rantoul and Thomasboro. 

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Village of Rantoul Recreation Department is currently accepting applications for youth baseball, softball, and t-ball. Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey is encouraging all youth interested to sign up…

 

 

Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County prosecutors have dismissed charges against a former U of I student who had been at the heart of a sexual harassment complaint against a professor in 2019. Charges alleging Sunny Naqvi made false reports against one former boyfriend and entered and damaged the property of another were dismissed. Naqvi accused professor Joseph Petry of sexual harassment. He later resigned. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The next dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine has been chosen. Pending Board of Trustee approval, the job will be Dr. Mark Cohen. Cohen will also assume the role of senior vice president and chief academic officer at Carle Health. He comes from the University of Michigan and will start in May.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has lowered expectations for U.S. wheat exports, amidst historically high prices. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing the “Enjoy Illinois 300” NASCAR Cup Series in the Metro East area. The inaugural series will be held June 5th at the World Wide Technology Raceway in downstate Madison. The Governor says this will be great for the region…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. There will be live entertainment as well and other area events including the World of Outlaws late model series in Pontoon Beach.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A man who attacked a jail custodian, stole his clothes and tried to escape custody in Vermilion County will serve prison time. Eric Lang was arrested on June 2, 2021, for stealing personal items from the home of a deceased victim. On June 5, while Lang was in custody at the Vermilion County Jail, he lured a custodian to a remote part of the jail, beat him up and stole his clothes, communication equipment and keys. Lang then tried to impersonate an employee to escape the jail, but was quickly exposed as an impostor, prosecutors said. Lang was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

 

(Pesotum-jm) – Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in Champaign County tonight. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

On Friday, March 11, 2022, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Kankakee Areas Metropolitan Enforcement Group Agents executed a search warrant at 323 N. Illinois Avenue, Kankakee, IL. During a search, Agents seized 5 firearms, approximately 164.5 grams of cannabis, approximately 6.7 grams of cocaine, multiple rounds of varying caliber ammunition and drug paraphernalia. The following residents were arrested, transported to the Jerome Combs Detention Center, and charged with the listed offenses. KAMEG was assisted by the Illinois State Police SWAT and Kankakee City Police Department. Anthony Sandoval, age 42, – No FOID, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon by Felon, Unlawful Possession of Weapon by Felon, Unlawful Possession of Weapon by Gang Member, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver. Sandoval is currently on parole through the Illinois Department of Corrections for Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm into Occupied Vehicle. An IDOC warrant was issued for parole violation. Charles R. Blomlie, age 44 – Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance. Christopher A. Gama, age 20 – Two Kankakee County warrants (Domestic Battery & Aggravated Battery), No FOID, Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver. Ramona E. Ownbey, age 46 – Kankakee County warrant (No valid DL), Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver, No FOID, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. KAMEG reminds the public to call KAMEG at (815) 933-1710 to report non-emergency information about drug dealing and gang problems.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – This week Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in collecting information regarding a shooting. According to police, on February 26, at around 11:45 p.m., they were dispatched to a location on North Garrard Street in Rantoul in response to a report of a fight. While they were on the way, officers learned gunshots were fired and one person had been shot. The victim, who was later identified as 24-year-old Carlos Navarrete, was taken to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

 

(Washington-jm) – The latest Consumer Price Index report shows a substantial spike in food prices last month. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

State and local police are beefing up patrols for the Saint Patrick's Day holiday

(Springfield-jm) – State and local police are beefing up patrols for the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday. The annual Saint Patty’s Enforcement is already underway and will last through the early morning hours of March 18th says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says the best thing you can do is make a plan ahead of time for how you’re going to safely get home after drinking.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease has been detected at two Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. The Illinois Department of Public Health and Department of Corrections on Friday announced legionella bacteria was detected during routine water testing at the Stateville and Joliet Treatment Center facilities. Currently, no inmates or staff at either facility are exhibiting symptoms of the disease and all potentially affected individuals in custody have been notified.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the Illinois Department of Human Services says help is available. Those with a gambling addiction often hide their problem from family members, so DHS is working to let the public know about support services and the signs of this disorder, says Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin…

 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit the website: we know the feeling dot org.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a house fire early Sunday afternoon. Firefighters arrived at 2509 Maplewood Drive at 2:24 p.m. on Sunday and found a fire in the house’s kitchen. They deployed several hose lines and were able to extinguish the fire. The fire was attributed to cooking. No firefighters or house occupants were injured, but the occupants will be displaced as a result of the damage.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Village of Rantoul Recreation Department is hosting a Rules of the Road Class at the recreation building in Rantoul on March 15th at 10am. Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey says it's good study time for those looking to take their written drivers exam… 

 

 

Village of Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The crop numbers are in and central Illinois topped the state in yields last year. For soybeans, Piatt County came in on top with 76.1 bushels per acre. Champaign County came in second at 74.2 bushels per acre. Macon, Moultire and Sangamon Counties rounded out the top 5. DeWitt County 69.6, Vermilion County 66.3, Ford County 65.8 and Iroquois County 56.9. As for corn, Champaign County led the state with 222.4 bushels per acre. Piatt County 212.8, DeWitt County 209.2, Ford County 199, Vermilion County 196.9 and Iroquois County 194.2.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Department is currently providing technical assistance and feedback as Congress begins the process of shaping a new Farm Bill. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging the public to check their smoke alarms as they sprang forward this weekend. Daylight Saving Time serves as a great reminder to make sure your smoke detectors are working, testing and replacing batteries as needed, says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. Fultz also recommends families practice their escape plan and meeting area in case of a fire.

 

(Washington-jm) – Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis has introduced legislation that creates a loan program to incentivize new investments in rural areas. The Rural Investment in America Act would provide enhanced lending authority to the Small Business Administration to provide loans to businesses that manufacture goods in industrial parks by offering partial loan forgiveness. To qualify, a business must establish a new presence or expand in a rural area industrial park.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is giving the public more time to get their driver’s license and ID cards renewed. No need to rush into a driver’s services facility, you now have until the end of July to update your license, says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. The extension does not apply to CDL’s. Haupt reminds there are things you can take care of online, like renewing your license plate sticker: at il sos dot gov.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man who shot in self defense has been sentenced to a year probation after pleading guilty to a single count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. 52 year old Antonio Davis received the sentence after pleading guilty in February in connection to the August 9th shooting death of Blake Williams of Buckley. Williams forced his way into Davis’ Rantoul home and got into a struggle with Davis before Davis shot him with a shotgun.

 

(Ashkum-jm) – District 21 Illinois State Police will be conducting distracted driving enforcement patrols tonight. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The spring legislative session is winding down. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about what's next for the general assembly…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A salt truck flipped over on its side Friday morning. This happened on Route 9 going east in Paxton. No injuries were reported.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary believes biofuels will play an important part in our nation's energy security both in the present and in the future. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Golden Nugget casino in Danville to move forward

(Springfield-jm) – As gas prices continue to skyrocket out of control, State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet is sponsoring legislation to provide permanent tax relief to families at the pump. The legislation, Senate Bill 4159, would cap the state’s sales tax on motor fuel at last year’s level – before the gas prices went through the roof. The plan could potentially save drivers $1 billion over the next fiscal year if gas prices reach $5.50 per gallon as many experts are predicting.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A joint resolution was adopted in the Senate Thursday creating the first Soil Health Day and Week celebration in Illinois, thanks to State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign. Bennett talks about the resolution on the Senate floor…

 

 

52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign. The measure now moves to the House.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin yesterday met virtually with Champaign County First to discuss county infrastructure priorities now that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law. During their conversation, Durbin and Champaign County leaders discussed potential federal funding for several current projects in the region, including The Yards development at the Illinois Terminal of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District; the Curtis Road Underpass Project in Savoy; the Kickapoo Trail; the Florida Avenue Corridor Reconstruction Project; the South Mahomet Connection Project; and the long-term protection of the Village of Mahomet’s aquifer to continue providing 200 million gallons of groundwater per day to the nearly one million people it serves.

 

(Hoopeston-tr) – The Lorraine Theater in Hoopeston is Celebrating 100 years with a Live Lyrical Showcase set for Sunday March 13th at 3pm.  Lorraine Foundation Vice President Jim Richards shares how the show will kick off… 

 

 

Lorraine Foundation Vice President Jim Richards. Other Talent Includes the Hoopeston Show Choir, The Taubert Ladies, Jerry Urich,  Tyler Robinson, and Bob Wilson. 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A former Hoopeston man has been found guilty on six counts of home invasion and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.  Donald Langston was accused of going to his estranged wife's home on Feb. 7, 2020 armed with a bat and a bb gun, forcing his way in, and attacking her and her family.  Langston struck his estranged wife in the head with the bat. Several other victims who were home during the home invasion suffered severe injuries to the head and body.  Police said Langston then chased his estranged wife out of the home and attacked her again. He was gone by the time police arrived.  Langston will be sentenced on May 4.

 

(St. Joe-tr) – Flags continue to  fly at half staff today in St. Joseph to honor the memory of fallen firefighter Ross Booker, a 20 year old who was struck while assisting at the scene of another accident. Graveside services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday at Stanton Cemetery in St, Joseph. Visitation will be held from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. today, with a Firefighter walk-through at 6:30 P.M.  at the St. Joseph-Ogden High School Gym.  Freese Funeral home inSt Joseph is assisting the family. St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges says the community is coming together and doing all they can to raise funds to help and honor the family of Booker…

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges

 

(Danville-jm) – The Illinois Gaming Board issued a preliminary finding of suitability allowing the Golden Nugget casino in Danville to move forward. The finding was issued Thursday following a public presentation demonstrating that the casino presented by Danville Development, LLC meets all preliminary requirements and qualifications for Board licensure. This puts the Golden Nugget Danville casino one step closer to being granted a gaming license in the State of Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones joined legislative leaders to address the growing rise of antisemitism. Governor Pritzker announced a $20 million initiative to beef up security against terrorism and hate in his budget proposal last month. Antisemitic flyers were found on the U of I campus last month leading campus leaders to address the issue. Jones said there has been a rise in cases not just at the Champaign-Urbana campus but at the other system campuses. Parkland College also had flyers found last month as well.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA cut South American soybean production. Stephanie  Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, received notice from USDA Wildlife Services of the first confirmed highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 Avian Influenza in a wild bird in Illinois for 2022.  Three Canada geese, located in Will County were submitted for sampling on March 2, 2022.  The findings were confirmed by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory on March 10. While Illinois has not seen any Avian Flu in backyard or commercial poultry within the state this year, this finding demonstrates that the virus is present and may be circulating within the wild bird population in Illinois.

 

(Danville-jm) – A Danville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking and unlawful use of firearms.  Authorities say, Deandre Smith, 35 was sentenced to a combined term of 120 months in the Bureau of Prisons for convictions including distribution of fentanyl, distribution of methamphetamine, possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute, carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In a closed study session, the Champaign City Council approved moving forward with a greenspace in the Garden Hills neighborhood. The council will not have to approve any further steps unless the project exceeds $75,000. The city would like to include wildflowers, a nature play space area and other amenities across the eight acres of land.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation sponsored by State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City passed in Springfield. Representative Bennett says the legislation had bi-partisan support…

 

 

Representative Bennett explains more about the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of  Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The State Farm Center will be flooded with high school basketball teams this weekend for the first time since 1995. The IHSA Boys State Basketball tournament started Thursday. Many people said it’s back home. For 77 years, the tournament was played at the U of I basketball arena. For the last 25 years, the tournament has been held in Peoria.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign is reopening a nationwide search for a Public Works Director.  The City’s executive recruitment firm, Baker Tilly US, will soon start a new round of targeted advertising and active recruiting to identify and encourage more qualified candidates to apply. The recruitment will remain open until the position is filled. Earlier this year the City identified three finalists but was unable to reach agreement with any of those individuals to fill this vacancy.

 

(Washington-jm) –  Drought is driving down USDA's forecasts for South American soybean production. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting Nighttime Enforcement Patrols on March 12th

(Springfield-jm) – Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and bribery. Madigan entered the plea through an attorney Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The former Democratic powerhouse is accused in a decades long bribery scheme in which utility company ComEd handed out subcontracts and no-work jobs to Madigan loyalists in exchange for favorable legislation in Springfield.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,634 new Coronavirus cases and 32 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 40 new cases Wednesday. Vermilion County reported 2 new cases and 1 additional death.

 

(Hoopeston-tr) – The Lorraine Theater in Hoopeston is Celebrating 100 years with a Live Lyrical Showcase set for Sunday March 13th at 3pm. Lorraine Foundation vice president Jim Richards shares his passion for giving local talent a stage to shine on… 

 

 

Lorraine Foundation vice president Jim Richards. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Vacancies are not unusual at METCAD 9-1-1, but they are unusually high right now at the dispatch center that answers all of Champaign County’s emergency calls. Staff members are often working 12-hour days, sometimes five or more days a week and it’s taking a toll. They normally have 33 full time employees. However, they have 9 vacancies. METCAD plans to hold in-person information sessions in April for anyone who might be interested in dispatching as a career.

 

(Pesotum-jm) – District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting Nighttime Enforcement Patrols on March 12th. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign County jury returned a mixed bag of verdicts in the case of a Thomasboro man accused of raping and beating a former girlfriend. The jury deliberated about four hours before acquitting Mark Frandle of two counts of criminal sexual assault that accused him of raping the woman as she slept on two different occasions in June 2020. But jurors could not reach unanimous verdicts on two counts that alleged he used force to sexually assault her. They convicted him of aggravated domestic battery for a violent attack on her in March of that year.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce officials say country music legend Tracy Lawrence will headline this year’s Paxton Swine and Dine in September.  Grandstand Concerts Spokesperson  Leon Edwards says the country superstar will be in Paxton on September 17th…

 

 

Grandstand Concerts Spokesperson Leon Edwards. Tracy Lawrence has sold over 13 million albums and charted 18 number 1 hits. The concert is free to attend.  Tickets for the special stage area are on sale now at the group’s website. 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's World Supply and Demand report Wednesday projected limited short term grain market effects from the Ukraine situation, but more of an effect coming from what's happening in South America. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Clare Peterson Pit Crew on Saturday, March 12th from 10-2.

 

The Iroquois County Genealogical Society will hold an Indians of Iroquois County program on Sunday, March 13th at 1 pm at the Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Rantoul Recreation Department is hosting their March senior luncheon on March 17th. Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey is asking anyone who would like to attend to RSVP ahead of time… 

 

 

Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – The community of St. Joseph is preparing to say “good-bye” to a volunteer firefighter who died over the weekend while working as a tow-truck driver. Ross Booker was killed while cleaning up from a car accident in Champaign. The visitation walk-through will happen at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Booker’s funeral will be held on Saturday.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is offering a Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program. Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison is asking anyone planning to dispose needles or other sharps to have them in a secure, approved container prior to disposal…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison. Drop offs are scheduled for each Tuesday and Friday in March from 8am-4pm at the FCHD. Contact Kami Garrison at 217-379-9281 for more information on the Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker announced Wednesday morning that 36 Illinois museums will receive a total of $19.7 million in state capital investments to improve their facilities and develop new exhibits.  Locally, the Champaign County Forest Preserve’s Museum of the Grand Prairie is receiving nearly $727,000.

 

(Washington-jm) – What does the March WASDE report have to say about the current global situation? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Former state Senator Thomas Cullerton pleaded guilty in a federal embezzlement case

(Chicago-jm) – A former Illinois state senator has pleaded guilty in a federal embezzlement case, two weeks after he abruptly resigned from the state Legislature. Former state Senator Thomas Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of embezzlement, admitting that he improperly took more than $240,000 from the Teamsters labor union. The 52-year-old Cullerton has agreed to pay $248,828 in restitution. A prosecutor said during Tuesday's federal court hearing that Cullerton could face a prison sentence of more than a year. His sentencing has been set for June 21. Cullerton was charged in 2019 in an indictment.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,055 new cases and 22 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases. Champaign County reported 16 new cases.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are the forecasts related to broiler and turkey production and prices? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign announced on Tuesday that all new city-produced programming will be available with closed captions. This programming includes live meetings of the City Council, Boards and Commissions, scripted programming and video recordings.

 

 

(Gilman-tr) – The Iroquois West School District will be updating their classrooms to provide better air quality for students and staff alike. IW Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says that many older classrooms do not have efficient filtering… 

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas 

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton apartment was damaged by fire late Tuesday morning. Crews were called to the apartment fire on Market Street in downtown Paxton just before noon. No word on the cause of the fire at this time.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A second murder suspect has been arraigned in connection to the deadly December shooting of an Urbana teen.  Kamron Williams, 17, has officially been charged with eight counts of first degree murder, per Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz. Andrew Byrd, 18, has also been arraigned on murder charges in the same case.  The suspects are accused of killing Jordan Atwater-Lewis, 17, on Dec. 29, 2021. Prosecutors said Atwater-Lewis and others inside of a residence at 1610 W. Hunter St. affiliated themselves with a local gang and had been feuding with another group, which allegedly included Williams and Byrd. Rietz said Williams and Byrd went to the Hunter Street address in furtherance of the feud, at which time Atwater-Lewis exited the residence and was shot. 

 

 

(Danville-jm) – Balloons over Vermilion is awarding $200,000 to local groups. The grants are going to 15 local schools and groups working to better the lives of local kids.

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  The 20-22 Swine and Dine event is being planned again for this September in the city of Paxton. Officials with the event are expected to announce the entertainment schedule for the event later this morning. WPXN news will update the information on later news casts.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Masks are now optional on the Illinois House and Senate floors. Tuesday the House voted to end the mask mandate. The Senate released an update to their COVID mitigations as well. Masks in the Illinois Senate are now strongly encouraged, but not required. However, a negative PCR test is still required to get into Senate offices, committee rooms, press boxes, and galleries.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,055 new cases and 22 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases. Champaign County reported 16 new cases.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – What might pork growers expect regarding domestic production and the price they might receive this year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana’s fire chief is hanging up his helmet after 35 years. Chuck Lauss will retire in May. Under his leadership, the Urbana Fire Department received an ISO One rating, which only about one-percent of fire departments achieve.

 

 

(Springfield-tr) – The Illinois State Police are busy working through Foid application backlogs. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the ISP is making great progress… 

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Tornado season is upon us and the Champaign Emergency Management Agency said it is gearing up for tornado season.

The Agency is posting to social media often to emphasize the importance of preparedness and is encouraging people to get weather radios to make sure they are alerted in case of a tornado. Illinois ranks 4th in the country for tornadoes.

 

The Champaign County Sheriff's Office is amping up patrols ahead of St. Patrick's Day weekend

(Springfield-jm) – A new report shows nursing homes in Illinois give residents fewer hours of care than any other state in the country. The Long-Term Care Community Coalition reports Illinois nursing home residents are getting less than three hours per day of care. A 2001 study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommended a minimum of four hours of care a day. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Despite a lot of attention on the grain market prospects of the Ukrainian situation, market analysts are still also focused on current crop prospects in South America. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – Rodney Davis filed to run for the 15th Congressional District Monday. The 15th Congressional District covers parts of Ford, Champaign and Vermilion Counties. It’s unclear if Mary Miller has filed yet.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student was arrested after biting two officers while being taken to a local hospital for intoxication. University Police responded to a call at Van Doren Hall, 1215 S. Fourth St.. to address a drunk student reportedly in possession of a knife. When police arrived around 12:24 a.m. on Monday, student Zachary Johnson, 18, resisted officers' attempt to arrest him and locate the knife. On the way to the hospital, Johnson reportedly bit two officers and was charged with aggravated battery.

 

(Gilman -tr) – The Iroquois West School District is undergoing some maintenance in their pursuit for better infrastructure in their locker rooms and overall air quality. IW Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says the projects could last through the summer of 2022…

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is amping up patrols ahead of St. Patrick's Day weekend and reminding motorists to drive safely. The theme for the DUI patrol and seatbelt safety campaign is: “This St. Patrick’s Day, don’t rely on luck to get you where you are going." Speeding, distracted driving and other traffic laws will also be strictly enforced. The campaign runs March 11-18.

 

(Undated-jm) – Democratic and Republican politicians looking to get on the June 28 primary ballot began filing nominating petitions. Monday marks the first day of a week long filing period. Petitions have been circulating since the middle of January. After the close of the filing period March 14, challenges to petitions can then be filed and heard.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Retired public service workers gathered Monday to urge lawmakers to put more money into state pension funds. The pension situation in Illinois is often referred to as a crisis because as of June 2021, the unfunded pension liabilities were almost $140 billion, according to a Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability report. That is money the state has promised to retirees who say they need it to live. There's a proposal in this year's budget to put half a billion dollars toward pension debt on top of the required payments from the state. The governor's office says adding this extra money into the pension funds will save taxpayers $1.8 billion in the future. Lawmakers are expected to pass a budget before the close of their spring session, which is set to end in early April.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – How might an expected lower U.S. cattle inventory this year impact feedlot placements, beef production and price? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) – 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is running for re-election. Barickman filed his petitions to run in the 53rd District yesterday, the first day candidates could file. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – For the first time since 1995, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Boys State Basketball Tournament will take place at the State Farm Center in Champaign. Sixteen teams representing four classes will compete across sixteen games from March 10–12. This will be the first time since 1971 that the tournament will be held in one weekend.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The unemployment rate continues to fall from the record highs seen during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, it's not all good news says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a retail theft and aggravated battery that happened at Best Buy on February 26. According to police, at approximately 1:10 p.m., two people entered Best Buy, removed two iPhones from a display counter and attempted to leave the store without paying. When an employee confronted these two at the exit, one of the offenders pepper-sprayed the employee and fled the store with the stolen merchandise, officers stated. Police said the suspects were two women, one was wearing a tan coat and black/white/gray leggings and the second female wore a black hooded sweatshirt with lettering on the front and black pants with a white stripe down the side. The offenders were seen leaving in a silver Buick sedan.

 

 

(Champaign–jc)  The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced a second significant gift for the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation and expansion project from 1976 Gies (geese) College of Business alumnus Steve Nesbitt and his wife, Michele. Last year, the Nesbitts made their first gift toward the facility project and now, only six months later, they are adding to that gift in an effort to build momentum toward the project's completion. Steve Nesbitt, of Moline earned a degree in accountancy from the Gies (geese) College of Business. He is a successful commercial real estate entrepreneur who got his start as a Wendy's and Chili's restaurant franchisee with more than 140 facilities. Michele is a successful entrepreneur and owner of Just Bare Skin Clinics in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. To date University of Illinois officials say they have raised just over 31 million of the 40 million dollar project. 

 

House lawmakers passed a bill last week to help make sure you get the advertised discount at the grocery store

(Paxton-jm) – Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian has declined to charge two teens in connection to a racially disturbing video shared on social media last week. Killian forwarded the case to Iroquois County where State’s Attorney Jim Devine will review the report from Paxton Police and decide whether to proceed with charges in juvenile court against the two 14 year olds, one from Loda the other Rankin. Paxton police asked the teens be charged with committing a hate crime, harassment by electronic communication and disorderly conduct. The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District condemned the video and worked with Paxton Police to investigate the incident. WPXN News will continue to follow this story.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A man is dead and another is in critical condition after they were shot Saturday night. Urbana police officers responded to the 900 block of Welch Drive for a report of multiple shots being fired at 10:44 p.m. They found two victims. One of them, a 26-year-old man from Urbana, died shortly after arrival at Carle Hospital. The other, a 21-year-old man from Normal, is being treated at Carle. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified the victim as Henry Golden the third. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Middle and high school students could get a day off from school to attend a civic event under a bill passed by the Illinois House. The legislation calls for at least one excused absence per year for a civic event, says Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago…

 

 

State Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago. Critics say the bill is too broad and could easily be abused. It only applies to public school students.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A sports betting industry insider predicts Illinois will set an all-time state handle record in March and approach $1 billion in bets. In-person registration went away March 5, the first time new customers can register remotely in Illinois since last April. Joe Boozell with PlayIllinois.com said the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will also help boost the numbers to around $900 million. Last year, sportsbooks made nearly $50 million in March revenue, resulting in about $7 million in state and local tax dollars.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House lawmakers have passed legislation to increase access to prostate cancer screenings. The bill comes from Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago, who is a prostate cancer survivor. It ensures that health insurers cover annual screening procedures without requiring co-pays or deductibles. Fellow survivor Representative Dan Swanson of Woodhull stressed the importance of these checks…

 

 

State Representative Dan Swanson of Woodhull. It’s now up to the Senate to approve the measure. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,329 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Friday. Champaign County reported 20 new cases. Ford County reported 23 new cases. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A fire in Rantoul last week caused over half a million dollars. Firefighters were called to a house fire on Gleason Drive Wednesday night. When they arrived they found a fire in an attached carport and a neighboring house on fire as well. Firefighters estimated damage at half a million dollars to the first structure and 100 thousand to the other structure.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are some of the likely grain market repercussions of the situation in Ukraine? We should have some initial USDA thoughts on that very soon. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A tow truck operator is dead after he was hit by a car while responding to a crash Saturday evening. The operator and Champaign police officers were on the scene of a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Neil Street and Windsor Road. No one was hurt in that crash. The operator,  20-year-old Ross Booker of St. Joseph, was cleaning up debris in the roadway when he was hit. He was taken to Carle Hospital where he died. The preliminary investigation indicated that the driver who hit the operator failed to change lanes. That driver, a 16-year-old from Tolono, cooperated with officers at the scene and was released with a ticket for violating Scott’s Law.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House lawmakers passed a bill last week to help make sure you get the advertised discount at the grocery store. Joliet Representative Natalie Manley says her bill was inspired by an elderly woman ahead of her in line at the store, who didn’t receive the sale price when the cashier rang up her groceries…

 

 

State Representative Natalie Manley of Joliet. Manley’s bill requires supermarkets to show both the original and sale price right as a barcode is swiped. It now moves to the Senate for a vote.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation passed by the House last week leaves it up to parents to decide when a child is old enough to stay home alone. Many parents may not even know state law sets a specific age at which a kid can be left on their own. Decatur Representative Sue Scherer says it’s confusing and doesn’t take into account a myriad of circumstances like whether it’s daytime or nighttime, or if it’s because mom or dad absolutely has to go to work…

 

 

State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur. It’s up to the Senate to pass this bill next.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,329 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Friday. Champaign County reported 20 new cases. Ford County reported 23 new cases. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is offering a Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program. Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison says flushing old or leftover medication is leading to more foreign substances in water across the US… 

 

 

 Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison. Drop offs are scheduled for each Tuesday and Friday in March from 8am-4pm at the FCHD. Contact Kami Garrison at 217-379-9281 for more information on the Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Crime Stoppers is announcing a significant increase in the cash rewards paid out for anonymous tips that help solve homicide and felony gun crimes in Champaign County. Crime Stoppers will now pay a $5,000 cash reward for tips that lead to an arrest in a homicide case, and $2,500 for tips leading to an arrest in a felony crime involving a firearm. The raise in rewards was made possible thanks to donations from the public and a $100,000 grant from the City of Champaign.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Grain prices are skyrocketing in light of the Ukraine situation. Will this cause U.S. farmers to change their planting plans? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says he's committed to eliminating the scourge of corruption in Illinois government

(Springfield-jm) – A package of bills introduced by Illinois Republicans aims to give parents more access to what is taught in their child's classroom. States across the nation are making similar efforts, but critics say it's an attempt to halt lessons on subject matter like gender, race, and sexuality. Republican lawmakers say this is all to increase transparency, but some feel there are other issues at play.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s committed to eliminating the scourge of corruption in Illinois government. The Governor calls the conduct alleged in the indictment against Mike Madigan deplorable and says the former House Speaker should be held accountable to the full extent of the law. He also has this message…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says although some ethics reforms were passed last year, more must be done.

 

(Undated-jm) – Eligible Catholic schools will have their Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship Program doubled. Empower Illinois shared two generous donors on February 28 who are sponsoring a scholarship donation match for eligible Catholic schools in central and southern Illinois. Among the schools eligible include St. Malachy in Rantoul, Holy Cross School, St. Matthews School and St. Thomas More in Champaign.

 

(Urbana-jm) – This weekend is “Unofficial” in Campustown. The event was once known for drawing thousands to Champaign-Urbana to take part in excessive partying, but the popularity of the event has gone down. Unofficial has been dangerous before. Three students have died in the past.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There is about a month left in the Spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses some of the bills he is sponsoring…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Police arrested a 16-year-old Rantoul Township High School student, after found armed with a loaded handgun at school.  According to authorities, the Rantoul Police Department responded to a report of a firearm being inside a school building at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Thursday. Police say the School Resource Officer at Rantoul Township High School was notified by school staff that a student there was possibly in possession of a gun. The officer and staff immediately responded and detained a sixteen-year-old male juvenile without incident. Upon searching the juveniles coat, officers located a loaded handgun. Officials report the handgun was discovered to be stolen from Douglas County in 2020, but are unaware of any specific details pertaining to that case.  The juvenile was transported to the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center on preliminary charges of Unlawful Use/Possession of Weapon and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Police arrested one suspect as a result of an investigation on the murder of 17-year-old Jordan Atwater-Lewis. Officers said the suspect’s name is currently not being released due to his status as a juvenile at the time of the crime. The suspect is currently being held in the Champaign County Satellite Jail pending future court proceedings. The investigation of this incident is ongoing.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. Dairy Exports broke records in 2021, but what are the export prospects for this year? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker is seeking to have Michael Madigan's name and likeness taken down from the Illinois state Capitol building. House Bill 5718 would require Madigan's name and likeness to be removed from all state properties. This would include the Capitol.

 

(Champaign–jc)  Champaign Fire Department officials respond to a residence fire at 804 Centennial Drive just past 8 last night.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire in this single-family home.    Once on the scene, fire crews reported heavy fire and smoke coming from the attached two-car garage. The cause of this fire is undetermined

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House passed legislation Thursday to increase the number of substitute teachers in the state. The bill is sponsored by Representative Anne Stava-Murray of Downers Grove, who says it makes college education major with at least 90 credit hours eligible for a substitute teaching license. She explains why it’s needed…

 

 

State Representative Anne Stava-Murray of Downers Grove. The bill now heads to the Senate.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A pair of 21-year-olds from Champaign County were charged in federal court with gun offenses. Kevin Beasley of Rantoul was charged for allegedly possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon while Ahzhnae Vassar of Champaign was charged for allegedly making a false statement to a licensed gun dealer while buying a gun. The indictment alleges that Vassar unlawfully purchased a Glock 17 pistol by falsely stating that she was the true buyer of the gun. Beasley was arrested on February 16 while Vassar was issued a notice to appear in court on March 17. If convicted, Beasley and Vassar are facing a maximum of 10 years in prison, followed by three years of parole and a $250,000 fine.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier”, is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  Assessments in Vermilion County are at 33.45 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The equalization factor currently being assigned is for 2021 taxes, payable in 2022.  Last year’s equalization factor for the county was 1.0000.

 

(Paxton–jc) A blood-drive is set for Paxton on Saturday. The venue is the First Lutheran Church. Blood drive coordinator Kevin Hanson says some time slots remain available…

 

 

Paxton Blood drive Coordinator Kevin Hanson. More information is found on line at blood-center-dot-org


(Urbana-jm) – A judge entered an order in U.S. District Court in Urbana accepting Emily Claire Hari’s recent plea of guilty to four federal charges in connection with acts of domestic terrorism in Illinois and Indiana. In his order, U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm said he was adopting the “report and recommendation” filed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long concerning Hari’s February 9 plea and, with no written objections having been filed, was accepting the plea. As part of a plea agreement, Hari, formerly known as Michael B. 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. In return, the 50-year-old transgender Hari, the former ringleader of a homegrown militia group based in the Ford County community of Clarence, will receive a 14-year prison sentence, to be served concurrently with the 53-year prison term she received last September for masterminding the firebombing of a Minnesota mosque. Sentencing remains set for 1 p.m. June 13, before Mihm.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation has Senior Scholarships available for 4-H students in Ford and Iroquois County.  Ford and Iroquois 4-H seniors are being emailed the scholarship application and guidelines from the Extension Office.  High school counselors also have the info or students can reach out to fordiroquois4hfoundation@gmail.com. Also, The Iroquois County Republican Women's Club plans to award an Iroquois County graduating high school female senior its $500 scholarship.  Qualifications include the applicant being at least a 3-year current resident of the county, be registered to vote IF you'll be 18 by November 8, 2022 and proof of U.S. citizenship. High school counselors have the application info or email iroquoisgopwomen@gmail.com  Applications are due by April 15th.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA is urging farmers to enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs, even though commodity prices are very high. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Michael Madigan, the former speaker of the Illinois House, charged with racketeering and bribery

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton police are asking Ford County’s prosecutor to criminally charge two 14-year-old boys who recorded a video in which they made racist comments directed toward one of their schoolmates. Police are requesting that Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian charge the two 14-year-olds in juvenile court with committing a hate crime, a Class 4 felony; harassment by electronic communication, a Class B misdemeanor; and disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Firefighters from Rantoul, Gifford and Thomasboro battled a house fire in Rantoul Wednesday evening. Crews were called to the fire on Gleason Drive just before 9 pm. The fire also damaged a neighboring home. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

 

(Chicago-jm) – Michael Madigan, the former speaker of the Illinois House and for decades one of the nation’s most powerful legislators, was charged with racketeering and bribery on Wednesday, becoming the most prominent politician swept up in the latest federal investigation of entrenched government corruption in the state. Madigan, 79, is charged with 22 counts, according to the indictment. In 2020, the Chicago Democrat was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state's largest electric utility, ComEd. Court filings at the time didn't name Madigan directly but made it clear he was the person in documents referred to as “Public Official A." Governor J-B Pritzker reacted to the news…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,640 new Coronavirus cases and 45 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 2 new cases. Champaign County reported 37 new cases. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Teachers and other school staff can take paid administrative leave if they contract COVID-19 under a bill passed by the House this week. The legislation is similar to one vetoed last year but has one major change. Only teachers who have been vaccinated can take administrative leave instead of sick time. It’s supported by Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville…

 

 

State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville. Opponents argued this is just another vaccine mandate. The bill now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A 20 year old Urbana woman is expected to be ok after she was shot multiple times Wednesday afternoon. The woman was a passenger in a vehicle that was shot at near the Circle K on North Lincoln Avenue. She was shot in the torso and arm and was taken to the hospital where police say she is expected to survive. Anyone with information is asked to call Urbana police.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – After a couple of years, Paxton's streetscape project is coming to life. Crews began putting up construction signs and barricades in the downtown area last night. The over one million dollar project will include resurfacing Market Street, redoing curbing and sidewalks and improving lighting.

 

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is offering a Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program. Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison explains the need for proper disposal… 

 


 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison. Drop offs are scheduled for each Tuesday and Friday in March from 8am-4pm at the FCHD. Contact Kami Garrison at 217-379-9281 for more information on the Drug Disposal and Medical Sharps Take Back Program. 

 

(Mahomet-jm) – A Mahomet man who authorities said inappropriately touched a child he was caring for is facing an aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge.  Scott Gamble, 53, was allegedly caring for this child more than 10 years ago. In December, the alleged victim reported what happened to her. She is now an adult woman. Gamble is held in lieu of $100,000 bond for the Class 2 felony charge. If he is convicted, he faces anything from probation to three to seven years behind bars.

 

(Washington-jm) – The top U.S. trade official notes that there have been shortfalls relative to China's commitment to buy U.S. products, under a two-year-old deal. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Chicago-jm) – Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted by federal prosecutors for his alleged role in a racketeering conspiracy linked to lobbying practices during his time in politics. Madigan, 79, is charged with 22 counts, according to the indictment. Federal prosecutors allege Madigan was essentially the leader of a group that engaged in criminal conduct for his benefit. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin reacted to the news…

 

 

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Teachers would be reimbursed for their college tuition under a bill passed by the House this week. The legislation pays back teachers who went to an Illinois college and then stayed in the state to teach at a public school. The goal is to address the serious teacher shortage says Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur…

 

 

State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur. Opponents argue that this initiative is estimated to cost over one billion dollars and even reimburses students from wealthy families that can easily afford college.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A man was reportedly stabbed near a store on Prospect Avenue. Champaign Police were dispatched at around 5:45 p.m. in response to a report of a domestic incident that involved several people. According to officers, the incident started inside of a store and spilled out into the plaza parking lot. Officers said a woman stabbed a man with a small knife and another woman brandished a machete. The victim has been taken to an area hospital for treatment. Police stated that they arrested the woman who is accused of stabbing the man. Officers confirmed this woman was 20-year-old Jimaria Filove Monae Wiley.

 

(Watseka-jm) – The State EPA is investigating a gas leak in Watseka. Fire crews and city personnel responded to several reports of the smell of gas. A leak was detected at the Shell Gas Station and a Haz-Mat crew from Kankakee as well as the state EPA and Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office were called in to investigate. Watseka officials say there is no contamination of drinking water and there is no reason for the public to be concerned.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois has received billions of dollars in money but now Republican lawmakers and the Governor and Democrats are in a showdown over how to use that money. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the state should use the money on reforms instead of expanding the government…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Lawmakers have until April to approve a new state budget although the new fiscal year begins in July.

 

(Champaign-jm) – As part of Champaign-Urbana AgTech Week, Parkland College invites local community partners, ag industry professionals, K-12 educators, community members, students, and parents to join us for the Parkland College AgTech Showcase. On Thursday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can step inside Parkland's agriculture facilities, learn about the future of the Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture, and explore the new Early College and Career Academy program in Precision Agriculture.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – China is both a major buyer of U.S. agricultural products and a source of concern. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Illinoisans can expect to pay more at the gas pump due to uncertainty in the global oil market

(Paxton–jc)  The investigation into a social media post concerning students at a Paxton Buckley Loda school is set to wrap up sometime today or tomorrow. Local police will be providing information about the incident, once the investigation is complete. WPXN news will update this story as more information becomes available. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues, it's causing a lot of uncertainty in the global oil market. The Illinois Fuel & Retail Association says that the uncertainty and risk mean that Illinoisans can expect to pay more at the gas pump. Right now, the average gas price in Illinois is $3.87, according to AAA. Last month, it was $3.54.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is asking the state’s five pension systems about divesting from any Russian companies. Across the state employee, university and teacher pension systems, Illinois holds nearly 100 billion dollars in assets. The Governor wants to make sure none are tied to Russia in light of the country’s attack on Ukraine. He’s awaiting a response…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he isn’t sure if the pension systems have any Russian investments but if so, the state must take action if possible.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,841 new COVID cases and 40 additional deaths. The state’s seven day positivity rate remained at 2 percent. Vermilion County reported 14 new cases. Champaign County reported 17 new cases. Ford County did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The State Police are ready to protect the public and the right to peaceful protest as several convoys are set to roll through Illinois. Some of the convoys are well organized and in touch with the state police, while others are more grass roots efforts, says Sergeant Joey Watson…

 

 

State Police Sergeant Joey Watson. State police urge the public to use travel apps that show up to the minute traffic updates to help avoid congestion around the convoys.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Champaign County Fair Board is announcing the headlining act for the 2022 Champaign County Fair. Headlining the grandstand on Friday, July 12 is the Grammy-Nominated country music artist Cole Swindell. Swindell will be joined that night by Michael Ray, who performed at last year's Paxton Swine n Dine. Up-and-coming artist Ashley Cooke will be opening the show. Tickets will go on sale Friday, March 4 at 8 a.m. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Around 100 teachers and community members came out to a Unit 4 school board meeting to share their thoughts about the ongoing bargaining between the district and the Champaign Federation of Teachers. Teachers filled the meeting room with signs asking the district for more support and to be listened to. The main issue over the contract is with an extended elementary day. The district is pushing to extend the school day by 50 minutes, but teachers say there aren't enough resources to do it. The union could begin a strike as early as March 21.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There is about a month left in the Spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses some of the bills he is sponsoring…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign County–jc)  –  Traffic was backed up for over 3 miles along Interstate 57 Monday. An accident in the northbound lanes around mile marker 237 near Curtis Road was the reason. State Police continue to remind motorists to slow down around accident scenes. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois Police is asking the public to help pick a name for their new puppy. According to UIPD, their new therapy dog is a 6-month-old Samoyed. He is described as very “fluffy and lovable.” Police said they asked the Illinois Student Government to submit choices for names. The top-four names are Kirby, Allen, Morey and Shelden.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are the prospects for U.S. ag exports to China?  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new measure was passed to the House by the Senate for the elimination of using the word "alien" when referring to immigrants in law-based settings. State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago is fighting to remove this barrier to full inclusion for immigrant communities in Illinois. Senate Bill 3865 would remove the use of the term "alien" in any Illinois law when referring to immigrant communities and referring to commerce outside of Illinois and the country.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike is leaving her position later this month. Dr Ezike became a recognizable name as she helped guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor J-B Pritzker has high praise for his director after her three years of service to the state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Ezike says her immediate plans are to take a breather and reconnect with herself as well as her husband and four kids. Governor Pritzker issued a proclamation designating March 1st as Dr Ezike Day in Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fair is announcing part of the Grandstand concert lineup. Some of the acts scheduled for the State Fair in Springfield include Sam Hunt, Brooks and Dunn, TLC and Shaggy, Jon Pardi, Disturbed and Sammy Hagar and the Circle. Fair Manager Rebecca Clark says they are off to a good start in creating a diverse lineup…

 

 

State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark. Tickets for these concerts go on sale Friday, March 11th at ticketmaster dot com. The Illinois State Fair runs August 11th through the 21st.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 22-year-old student of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accused of biting a bar employee’s arm during an altercation. According to police, an officer on patrol saw several people fighting outside a bar on East Green Street early Tuesday morning. Police said they arrested Teryn Chambers after this incident happened.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a person of interest in a retail theft. The theft happened on February 16 at the Illini Union Bookstore. The suspect was photographed on store cameras. Anyone who has information is asked to call 217-333-1216.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are working on a way to address teacher shortages in the state. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says some of these ideas could help other industries facing shortages as well…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-tr) – On Friday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m., University of Illinois assistant professor of materials science and engineering Dr. Nicola Perry will present "Ceramics That Breathe: New Materials Development for Sustainable Energy." Kaler Lecture tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Illinois Gaming Board has reached out to Danville Development, LCC for the prospect of a casino in Danville. The Board invited Danville Development, LCC to a public meeting on March 10, 2022, to discuss a preliminary finding of suitability. Danville Development, LCC will present virtual outlines of the company's suitability and address the necessary requirements for the Golden Nugget Danville Casino.

 

(Washington-jm) – A top USDA trade official says reaching the projected record agricultural export value of 183,5 billion dollars will be a tremendous milestone, but he's looking to an even higher milestone. Gary Crawford reports..

 

 

This is Severe Weather Preparedness Week

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker celebrated the end of the state’s mask mandate with a stop by Navy Pier in Chicago Monday. Masks are no longer required in stores, bars, restaurants, daycares and schools. It’s a great feeling, says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says those that feel more comfortable wearing a mask should continue to do so. As of last night there were 943 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. The lowest level since the end of July. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 4,483 new cases and 109 additional deaths since Friday. The seven day positivity rate continues to fall, now down to 2 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 55 new cases. Vermilion County reported 18 new cases. Iroquois County also reported 18 new cases. Ford County did not have a report Monday. Iroquois County reported that will be their final update.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Severe Weather Preparedness Week and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some tips to help keep your family safe. It’s all about being ready for anything, having a family communication plan, an emergency kit and knowing the biggest threats in your area, says IEMA Spokesperson Kevin Sur…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Kevin Sur. Sur recommends investing in a NOAA (noah) weather radio and visiting the website: ready dot illinois dot gov for more severe weather tips.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The City of Gibson City recently completed its evaluation of the damage caused by severe flooding in August and can now estimate the total cost of the flooding and cleanup effort. The city said the flooding resulted in an estimated $10 million to $12 million. This estimate includes the cost of destroyed buildings, appliances, foundation repairs, city infrastructure damage, debris removal, personal property and more.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The town of Rantoul is preparing to look at their 2022-2023 budget. Concerns of the Sports Complex having new expenditures alongside other projects around town are being weighed in on. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says people are  excited about the growth and that he's blessed Rantoul can even host such sporting events… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of the man killed in a weekend shooting at a Rantoul bar. Northrup identified the victim as Carlos Navarrete Jr. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently announced that students will need to have a negative on-campus COVID-19 test result after spring break. This break will begin on March 12 and end on March 20. Officials said students may receive a negative result between March 17 and March 25. Students will have “granted” access until the end of the day on March 25. In-person classes will start on March 21. Face coverings will be required in classrooms.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – What might our nation's producers of red meat and poultry receive-price wise for their products this year?  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is now accepting applications for college scholarships. More than 50 scholarships for the upcoming school year are up for grabs, says DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez…

 

 

DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. Recipients receive up to five years of tuition and fee waivers at participating state colleges, as well as money for other expenses. Applications are due by March 31st and can be found at local dcfs offices or the dcfs webpage.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Anti-Semitic flyers were found along driveways in an Urbana neighborhood on Saturday morning. Officials of Sinai Temple C-U posted to Facebook to notify people about this incident. Officials said they encourage anyone who may have information about the distribution or exterior home security systems in the affected neighborhoods to contact Urbana Police at (217) 384-2320.

 

(Gilman-tr) – The Iroquois West School District is considering new bids for insurance after several years, says IW Superintendent Angelo Lekkas. Lekkas went on to say he wants to contain those costs as much as possible… 

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A man is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection to a shooting that happened on August 15, 2020. Champaign Police were dispatched to the parking lot of Star Fox Liquor at around 10:10 p.m. on August 15, 2020, in response to a reported shooting. When police arrived at the scene, they found 23-year-old Christopher Kelly suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound. The victim was rushed to a local hospital but succumbed to his injuries. The Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office charged 25-year-old Johnnie Holbrook with first-degree murder for his involvement in the homicide. Holbrook is in custody at a Correctional Center in Kankakee County on unrelated charges.

 

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Police Department has announced the return of a popular community engagement series, Coffee with a Cop. These events offer a unique opportunity for residents to meet with police officers to ask questions, voice concerns and to get to know one another better through casual conversation. The coffee is complimentary for those participating. The first Coffee with a Cop event of 2022 will be held on Friday, March 11, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Café Kopi, located at 109 N. Walnut Street.. Coffee with a Cop helps to break down barriers and allows dedicated time for one-on-one interaction in a relaxed setting to help bring our community closer.

 

(Washington-jm) – The overall index of prices received by farmers in January dropped, but not by much. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Get our App

Facebook

On Air Now

Regular Programming
12:00am - 6:00am
Regular Programming

Listen on Alexa

Weather

Visitor Polls

How do you consume your sports, or news coverage?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.