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WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-04

Illinois is launching a new tourism campaign...the "Middle of Everything."

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker faced questions about the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. DCFS Director Marc Smith has faced backlash for weeks after multiple contempt of court orders over the inadequate placement of youth in care. Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin has even called for his resignation. Governor Pritzker says the challenges Smith is facing are due to his predecessor and they are working to improve the process. Smith has currently faced nine contempt of court orders since January.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is launching a new tourism campaign…the “Middle of Everything.” The effort stars actress Jane Lynch and highlights what Illinois is all about says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The ads will run in 20 markets throughout Illinois, seven neighboring states and cable stations nationwide. More about the “Middle of Everything” campaign including suggested itineraries is available online at: enjoy illinois dot com.

 

(Washington-jm) – A lawmaker from Illinois is speaking out against canceling student loan debt for thousands of Americans. United States Representative Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, released a statement this week saying President Joe Biden's plan for student loan forgiveness is wrong. Multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that the White House is considering offering widespread debt cancellation for federal student loan borrowers. Student loan payments have been paused through August 31, 2022.

 

(Roberts-tr) – The village of Roberts is currently facing a series of water issues. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan says repairs could cost as much as 130 thousand dollars… 

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says Black mothers of gun violence victims are more likely to suffer health issues than parents of other ethnicities. Dr. Ruby Mendenhall, a professor at the University of Illinois, said trauma from gun violence causes hormones to rage, which constantly puts a mother's body in the "fight or flight" mode. As a result, Dr. Mendenhall and her colleagues believe a Black mother is more susceptible to sicknesses, such as diabetes, and hypertension. Dr. Mendenhall says Black families have difficulty preventing sickness due to job discrimination and not being able to afford health care.

 

(Ford County-tr) – Saturday is National Drug Takeback Day. In observance of this day, the Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a Prescription Medication Take Back Opportunity Friday April 29th from 12-3pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison says that Narcan kits are still available…

 

 

FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A total of $1.5 million has been awarded to the Housing Authority of Champaign County through a federal YouthBuild grant. YouthBuild, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is a non-residential, community-based and alternative education program that gives at-risk youth in the 16-24 age range access to job training and educational opportunities. The money from U.S. labor officials marks the Housing Authority's second round of federal funding for the YouthBuild program. As of late April, YouthBuild has served 78 young people. It carries a 91 percent credential attainment rate, with 95 percent showing reading and/or math level gains. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Picket Fence Florist downtown Paxton. Owner Teri Hancock says they are gearing up for Mother’s Day…

 

 

Picket Fence Florist of Paxton owner Teri Hancock. You can hear more about Picket Fence Florist on later newscasts today and an interview with Teri Hancock, Dawn Glad, and Richard Arnold.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are some of USDA's current efforts to strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and what else should be considered as part of the 2023 Farm Bill? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Bill 4343 is headed to Governor J-B Pritzker's desk. Once signed, the bill will give Medicaid coverage to undocumented people who are at least 42 years old. Immigrants under 18 years old will also be covered. Once the governor signs the bill, Medicaid coverage would be available on July 1.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center is being recognized for its work as a one-stop resource for law enforcement. During an annual training event, it was named the 2021 Fusion Center of the Year. Fusion Centers were created after the 9-11 terrorist attacks to better coordinate information about potential threats and response efforts says Illinois State Police Lieutentant Byron Workman…

 

 

Illinois State Police Lieutenant Byron Workman. Workman says it’s the analysts and law enforcement that work around the clock, as well as strong partnerships with local responders that make Illinois’ facility so special.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Pork Producers Association is making it easier for farmers to enhance their pig farms. The grants will reimburse applicants up to $2,500 for tree buffers, and related materials. Applications are due by July 1, 2022.

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair Talent Show committee is currently accepting entries to compete in the Iroquois County Fair Talent show through May 1st. Talent Show Director Pat Ward hopes to have a plethora of unique performances for a night of family entertainment… 

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Talent Show Director Pat Ward.

 

(Watseka-jm) – The Iroquois County Public Health Department is asking for the public's help collecting dead birds. The department collects and tests dead birds as part of its West Nile virus surveillance program. Officials say dead birds will be collected from May 1st to October 15th, and submitted birds should be believed dead for less than 24 hours. Birds with obvious causes of deaths, such as gunshot wounds, are not eligible for testing. If you find a dead bird in Iroquois County, call 815-432-2483.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – The Sip and Shop Wine Hop is going on in Gibson City tomorrow from 11am - 3pm. Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin shares how to get in on the chance to win gift baskets… 

 

 

Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin.

 

(Kankakee-jm) – On Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at approximately 5:15 a.m., KAMEG Agents, assisted by Illinois State Police SWAT, arrested Kim L. Franks, age 49, and Kimyata S. Mitchell-Eason, age 51, both of Kankakee, IL, following a search warrant at their residence, 1178 E. Maple St. Kankakee. A two-month investigation preceded the search warrant execution. The search warrant execution resulted in the seizure of over 2,000 grams of cocaine, over 5,000 grams of cannabis, two loaded handguns, United States Currency, and multiple items of drug paraphernalia. Franks was charged with the following: Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver between 2000 – 5000 grams, Unlawful Possession of a Cannabis with Intent to Deliver over 5000 grams, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon and two counts of Armed Violence. Mitchell-Eason was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. Franks and Mitchell-Eason were transported to and detained at the Jerome Combs Detention Center.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Picket Fence Florist downtown Paxton. Designer Dawn Glad says when thinking of “Mother’s Day” it is a day for mom and more…

 

 

Picket Fence Florist of Paxton  designer Dawn Glad. You can hear more about Picket Fence Florist on later newscasts today and an interview with Teri Hancock, Dawn Glad, and Richard Arnold.

 

(Washington-jm) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is taking exception to one lawmaker's charge that the Administration does not take agricultural trade seriously. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the PBL Chorus on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Gibson City will host a Sip and Shop Wine Hop on Saturday from 11-3. Cost is $20. For more information contact Sharon Craig at 217-249-8103.

 

St. Malachy Catholic School in Rantoul will host their annual spring auction on Saturday.

 

Parkland College will host Perimeter Road Music Festival on Saturday from 12-7 pm in the Student Union parking lot.

 

A benefit for Nathan Savoie will be held at 1 pm on Sunday at the 103 in Buckley.

 

Eight candidates have filed to be the next governor of Illinois

(Urbana-jm) – A man who drove a truck into the Champaign County Satellite Jail was sentenced to 10 years at the Illinois Department of Corrections. Yevgeni Nikolaev was arrested last July after a police chase   involving him crashing into the jail. He reached a plea deal and was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated assault and vehicular invasion. The Champaign County state’s attorney said Nikolaev was a known meth-addict and was believed to have been on the drug the day of the crash.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of new laws to further address teacher shortages in Illinois. One new law reduces the reinstatement fees for a lapsed teaching license from $500 to $50 says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Another new law lowers the minimum age for paraprofessionals to work in kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms from 19 to 18.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Eight candidates have filed to be the next governor of Illinois. Governor J-B Pritzker only has one democratic challenger, Beverly Mills. The Republican race, however, is a bit more crowded. There are six men vying for the top spot: Max Solomon, Jesse Sullivan, Darren Bailey, Richard Irvin, Gary Rabine and Paul Schimpf. They will face off in the primary on June 28, 2022. The one who gets the most votes for each party will advance to the general primary in November.

 

(Buckley-jm) – A benefit for Nathan Savoie will be held this Sunday at the 103 in Buckley. Spokesperson Shawna Rose says they are looking for donations for the silent auction and other giveaways…

 

 

Spokesperson Shawna Rose.

 

(Champaign-jm) – This weekend, runners will be taking to the streets for the Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend. That means there will be changes in traffic for drivers. Race organizers provided information regarding the courses. They said all races will start and end on the University of Illinois campus. It will start near the State Farm Center and run through all sides of the university’s campus as well as some neighborhoods in Champaign and Urbana. They will then finish at Memorial Stadium, according to the race website.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Democratic Illinois lawmakers and Governor J-B Pritzker passed a historic budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget includes some tax relief and a small stimulus. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman calls it election gimmicks…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – First Busey Corp. reported first-quarter earnings of $28.4 million. The Champaign, Illinois-based bank said it had earnings of 51 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 52 cents per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 51 cents per share. The bank holding company posted revenue of $111.9 million in the period. Its revenue net of interest expense was $105.8 million, which also beat Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $102.8 million.


 

(Watseka–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Iroquois County Veterans Assistance. Program Manager Jen Ingram talks about a Vietnam war veteran she helped…

 

 

The Iroquois County Veterans Assistance program helps Veterans in many ways from health issues to financial issues. Program Manager Jen Ingram talks about one family she helped to get appliances and food assistance…

 

 

Iroquois County Vets Assistance Program Manager Jen Ingram. You can hear more about Veterans Assistance on news casts today and a full interview with Ingram during the Noon news. 

 

(Washington-jm) –  What indicators within the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report were perhaps surprising to industry analysts? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Commerce Commission and Operation Lifesaver are celebrating 50 years of Rail Safety Education. It’s the 50th Anniversary for the Operation Lifesaver initiative, which works to prevent rail accidents, says I-C-C Executive Director Mike Merchant…

 

 

I-C-C Executive Director Mike Merchant. Merchant stresses the need to continue these efforts which include community presentations, informational campaigns and training new volunteers and first responders.

 

(Springfield-jm) – With the statewide ballot certified, Democratic and Republican voters in the June 28 primary will have choices for Illinois Secretary of State. Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White isn’t seeking reelection. Democrats Sidney Moore, David Moore, Alexi Giannoulias and Anna Valencia are seeking the party’s nomination. The two on the Republican ballot are John Milhiser and Dan Brady.

 

(Buckley-tr) – The Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is preparing for their Spring Concert set for tonight. CLHS Director Sandy Spitz says this year's concert theme will be a patriotic one… 

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz

 

(Danville-jm) – The number of criminal offenses in the City of Danville has gone down since 2018. City officials recently reported the number of crimes that happened in Danville in 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018. These crimes fall under eight categories including criminal homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault/aggravated battery, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. According to the data in the reports, there were 12 criminal homicide cases in 2018 and 9 cases in 2021. The number of aggravated assault/aggravated battery incidents in 2018 was 391 and it went down to 213 incidents in 2021. In other words, there is a 25 percent decrease in homicide cases in 2021 compared to 2018 and a nearly 46 percent decrease in aggravated assault/aggravated battery cases in 2021 compared to 2018.

 

 

(Roberts-tr) – The village of Roberts is currently facing a series of water issues. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan says the town has taken steps to generate additional funding to tackle the water problems… 

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Champaign's city council said it plans to provide over $3 million to run a year-round emergency shelter for the local homeless population.  The funding is for running the shelter and having operations up and running by the winter. The shelter will be set up as part of a partnership between city leaders and Champaign Township. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Food prices are going up faster and farther than expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

A pair of bills on Governor JB Pritzker's desk would expand a state roadway camera monitoring program

(Undated-jm) – A pair of bills on Governor JB Pritzker’s desk would expand a state roadway camera monitoring program to 21 additional counties while also expanding the number of crimes the cameras can be used to investigate and the number of parties that can prosecute them. House Bill 4481, would also expand it to state highways and expressways in the counties of Boone, Bureau, Champaign, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Henry, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Macon, Madison, McHenry, Morgan, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, St. Clair, Will and Winnebago.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Local lawmakers continue to discuss the historic state budget approved by Governor J-B Pritzker last week. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the negatives of the over 3,000 page budget, which he voted against…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Firefighters with the Champaign Fire Department were dispatched to a two-story residence on West Vine Street on Tuesday at around 1:15 p.m. in response to a report of a fire. When fire crews arrived at the scene, they saw a small fire in the attic of the house. They deployed a single hose line and quickly extinguished the fire primarily contained in the attic. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Investigators are still at the scene. No one was hurt. Occupants of the building will be displaced.

 

(Ford County-tr) – Saturday, April 30th, is National Drug Takeback Day. In observance of this day, the Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a Prescription Medication Take Back Opportunity Friday April 29th from 12-3pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison shares a few examples of how NOT to dispose of old medication…

 

 

FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton will plant 3 trees this Arbor Day in honor of three community pillars who passed away in the last year. Trees will be planted in honor of former Mayor Jim Kingston, former dentist and fire chief Russ Pitch and community volunteer Gary Popel. The dedication will take place at 8 am Friday at Pells Park.

 

(Paxton–jc)  -  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Ropps Flower Factory in Gibson City Mahomet and Paxton. Owner Roger Cramer says they have thousands of flowers ready for the Spring, and also vegatables…

 

 

Ropp’s Flower Factory Owner Roger Cramer. You can hear more about Ropps Flower Factory of Gibson City Mahomet and Paxton on our news casts today and an interview with Roger Cramer during the noon news. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois State Police announces the results of Project Safe Neighborhood saturation details conducted from October 2021 to the present date.  During this period, ISP officers worked jointly with officers in several counties to include Peoria, Champaign, Hancock, Cass, Coles, Christian, Sangamon, Vermilion, and Moultrie.  Officers worked a total of 27 proactive saturation details. As a result of the details, 85 arrests were made, 199 warnings were issued, and 142 citations were issued. The arrests included charges of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, Possession of Child Pornography, Possession of Methamphetamine, Internet Crimes Against Children, Unlawful Use of Weapons, Obstructing, Manufacture/Delivery of Cannabis, Possession of Controlled Substance, Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, Armed Violence, Driving While License Suspended, and several Wanted on Arrest Warrants. Seized during the details were 12 guns, 1,725 grams of methamphetamine, 112,665 grams of cannabis, 15 LSD doses, 14 grams of cocaine, 5,311 grams of mushrooms, and two stolen vehicles.    

 

(Paxton-tr) – For the past two years, school lunches at the PBL school district have been free with policy made during the Covid-19 Pandemic. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says there are talks going on at the federal level whether to continue the program or not… 

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man already in custody for being an armed habitual offender is facing more charges. The latest charges against Kemion Davis accuse him of shooting at a vehicle in Urbana on September 9th of 2021. It's his fourth case bringing his total bond to $2.8 million.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A trio of streets in Champaign will see lane closures this week as crews perform sewer maintenance and pavement repairs. West Healey Street between South Elm and South Neil Streets will see single-lane closures starting Thursday to allow storm sewer lining to take place. That work will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Also happening close to that stretch, one southbound lane of South State Street between West Springfield Avenue and West Healey is currently closed for pavement repairs. The lane closed on Monday. Both of these closures and projects are expected to end on Friday. West Church Street will also see a closure for sewer lining on Thursday. The right lane of Church between North Fair Street and North Sabin Avenue will be closed starting at 7 a.m. and is expected to reopen at 5 p.m. that same day.

 

(Iroquois County-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair Talent Show committee is currently accepting entries to compete in the Iroquois County Fair Talent show through May 1st. Talent Show Director Pat Ward hopes to have a plethora of unique performances for a night of family entertainment… 

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Talent Show Director Pat Ward.


 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 on Saturday and, following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is isolating at home in the President’s House at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


(Gibson City–jc)  –Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Ropps Flower Factory of Gibson City, Mahomet and Paxton. Owner Roger Cramer says they have thousands of flowers ready for Spring…

 

 

/Ropps Flower Factory Owner Roger Cramer. Hear more about Ropps on today’s news and also over the Noon News today.

Governor J-B Pritzker has signed a new state law to help address the shortage of substitute teachers in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker has signed a new state law to help address the shortage of substitute teachers in Illinois. The idea is to get more retired teachers back into the classroom to help out, says Representative Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville…

 

 

State Representative Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville. The law takes effect immediately.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin wants the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to resign. Durkin's call for Director Marc Smith to resign follows news of the director being held in contempt of court for a ninth time. The ninth contempt of court order involves a 15-year-old boy who has been kept in a psychiatric hospital for more than two and a half months since he was ready to be discharged.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Corn and soybean planting is starting up in Illinois. On average, less than two days were suitable for fieldwork this past week. Still, some minor progress was made, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Five percent of winter wheat has headed and 40 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as two percent short, 49 percent adequate and 49 percent surplus.

 

(Bloomington-jm) – Bloomington Police and Fire said that a 19-year-old man has died after he was pulled from a lake Sunday night. Firefighters and police officers were dispatched to White Oak Park at 8 p.m. for a report of someone drowning. They pulled the teen from the water and attempted life-saving measures before taking him to Carle BroMenn Medical Center. Their efforts were not successful and the teen was pronounced dead.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is offering support to local caregivers. FCPHD Caregiver Advisor Becky Beck states the goal of the program… 

 

 

Beck went on to share the mixed emotions caregivers can feel whilst caring for a loved one… 

 

 

FCPHD Caregiver Advisor Becky Beck. If you'd like more information about the program, call the Ford County Public Health Department and ask for Becky Beck at 217-379-9281.

 

(Watseka-jm) –  The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department will be among those hosting events this Saturday as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. As part of a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Sheriff’s Department will accept expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drugs can be dropped off at the west door of the Iroquois County Courthouse, located at 550 10th Street in Watseka. The take back event will be free and anonymous with no questions asked, but only patches and pills will be accepted; no liquids, needles or sharps.

 

(Paxton-tr) – At this time, Hall of Fame Inductees are being considered by the PBL school board and other community leaders. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says the process is extensive and up to only three people are inducted per year…

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Parkland College Board of Trustees approved awarding fallen Saint Joseph firefighter and tow truck driver Ross Booker a posthumous honorary degree. Ross was completing his last semester at Parkland College at the time of his death. He was killed while cleaning up an accident in Champaign.

 

(Paxton–jc) – Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Paxton Hardware and Rental. Owner Scott Allen says your can find all types of rental ideas for graduation at the store in Paxton…

 

 

Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen. You can hear more about our business of the day on all newscasts and during an interview on the noon news today

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County is preparing for their Spring Fling, tonight from 6-8pm after 2 years of not holding it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki says wine tastings and music will be available…

 

 

Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczyck.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new state law is designed to further protect Illinois students from sexual abuse at school. Under the law, school administration must let school boards and parents know if a teacher is found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with a student. It also ensures teachers who are caught have the incident recorded in their personnel file, so they can’t easily move to another district, says Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg…

 

 

State Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. The measure builds upon “Faith’s Law” passed last year targeting teachers who groom students into having an inappropriate sexual relationship.

 

(Edwardsville-jm) – Amazon is facing at least two lawsuits after its Illinois warehouse collapsed in December. Six people were killed when a tornado tore through the building. The victim's family claims negligence after an incident report from a west county fire investigator citing structural issues.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Corn and soybean planting is starting up in Illinois. Two percent of corn and one percent of soybeans have been planted, well behind last year’s pace, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions improved to 53 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at two percent short, 49 percent adequate and 49 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers revisited some aspects of criminal justice reform during the spring legislative session. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says it's not enough…

 

 

One of the pieces of legislation passed dealt with the increase in carjackings…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – One person is in custody after people in two-vehicles reportedly shot at one another Saturday. Champaign Police were called at approximately 5:22 p.m. to the area near Williamsburg Drive and Garden Hills Drive. Officers found shell casings of multiple sizes covering two blocks. Witnesses said people in two vehicles were exchanging gunfire when one of the vehicles became disabled. The people inside then ran off and the other vehicle left the scene.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Paxton Hardware and Rental is the WPXN Business of the day today. Owner Scott Allen says there is always something new in the rental side of the store and one new rental is a foam party machine…

 

 

Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen. Here more about rentals and more at Paxton Hardware and Rental on later newscasts today.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The city of Paxton downtown Streetscape program continues and safety in traveling to downtown businesses is a top priority for city officials, police and the construction companies involved with the project. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says crews have worked hard to make the downtown area safe for travel during the construction…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man sentenced to 2 years in prison for domestic battery is facing an additional 1-3 years. Lamar Phillips received a 2 year sentence in Champaign County court. As he was being detailed to go back to the county jail, Phillips got into a tussle with security, causing one of them to receive minor injuries. He’s now charged with resisting a peace officer.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – This week, Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s assistance in getting more information on criminal damage. On April 5, at around 3:30 a.m., Rantoul Police were dispatched to the Rantoul Pizza Pub on East Congress Avenue in response to an activated motion alarm. When officers arrived at the scene, they found a damaged window on the north side of the business and evidence that someone had entered the building. According to officers, once inside, the suspect damaged an interior door that allowed access to a neighboring business, Dis N Dat Barbecue. The suspect was captured on video, wearing a dark-colored coat with square and rectangular patches on the back, athletic style pants with a vertical stripe along the leg, dark-colored shoes with a rectangular pattern on the sides, gloves and face covering. Anyone who has information regarding this or any crime in Champaign County is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS.

 

 

Champaign Police are concerned about a "destructive" social media challenge

(Springfield-jm) – Marc Smith, the director of the Department of Children and Family Services, is being held in contempt of court for the ninth time. This new order involves a 15-year-old boy who has been kept in a psychiatric hospital for more than two and a half months since he was ready to be discharged. According to the cook county public guardian, the courts ordered DCFS that the boy be discharged to an appropriate placement by March 25. Smith faces fines of $1,000 per day until he is properly placed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends you stop using bird feeders and bird baths for now. The goal is to prevent the spread of the highly infectious avian flu says Department of Natural Resources Chris Jacques (jakes)...

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chris Jacques. Jacques says while you’re at it, go ahead and clean the bird feeders and baths with a water and bleach solution and remove any spilled bird seed at the base of the feeder.

 

(Fisher-jm) – The Champaign County coroner identified two men killed in a crash on Thursday night. The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on Illinois Route 47, west of Fisher. Two vehicles hit head-on, according to Coroner Duane Northrup. Northrup said 50-year-old Christopher Lonis–of Aurora, and 78-year-old Gordon Bane Jr.–of Downs, were both pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Both died from blunt force injuries they received during the crash. Both Lonis and Bane were the only people in their vehicles. The crash is still under investigation.

 

(Roberts-tr) – The village of Roberts is currently facing a series of water issues. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan says that every avenue of state and federal funding has been looked at, but to no avail…

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – If you are driving around Urbana, you may need to find another route in some parts of town. Officials with the City of Urbana said starting this past Saturday, there will be new lane closures on the northbound side of Lincoln Avenue. Those closures will run from Springfield Avenue to University Avenue. One lane will remain open at all times. On southbound Lincoln Avenue between Springfield and University, the left lane will be closed. The road closure at Main Street continues at the intersection with Lincoln, on the east side of Lincoln.

 

 

(Paxton-tr) – The Paxton Buckley Loda school district is in the process of sending out summer schedules to parents in the district featuring summer classes and a camp. Credit Recovery information is out at this time but PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says additional summer information will be in the hands of parents soon.. 

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Thomasboro–jc)  Hoveln Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Thomasboro is the WPXN business of the day today. Owner Shari Hoveln says one marketing idea that captures the essence of the family business is their advertising jingle…

 

 

Shari Hoveln of Hoveln Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Thomasboro. You can hear more about the business on newscasts today and an interview during the Noon news. 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – Hoopeston firefighters are investigating two structure fires. The first one happened in the 200 block of East Main Street. When they arrived they found an abandoned property on fire. The second fire happened in the 600 block of East McCracken. That residence was unoccupied at the time. Both fires remain under investigation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association is suing the state over a gas tax sticker requirement. In the state budget, a provision makes it so a sticker will now have to be displayed on gas pumps to explain why prices are cheaper. If gas stations don't comply, they could face a $500 fine each day starting on July 1, 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Cases of COVID-19 in Illinois increased by 39 percent this past week. State Public Health officials report more than 19 thousand new infections. That does not include those who only tested positive with an at-home kit. But there is some good news, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.  Most of the state remains at low risk for transmission, although four counties: DuPage, Champaign, McLean and Piatt are considered at medium risk. It’s advised that the elderly and immunocompromised wear a mask in indoor public settings in those areas.

 

(Thomasboro–jc)  – Hoveln Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Thomasboro is the WPXN Business of the Day today. Owner Shari Hoveln says the company has had experience in the industry since 1977…

 

 

Shari Hoveln of Hoveln Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Thomasboro. You can hear more about the business on newscasts today and an interview during the Noon news. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police are concerned about a “destructive” social media challenge that has spread to the area. At 10 p.m. Thursday night, officers responded to an incident related to the “Door Kick Challenge,” which occurred at a home on Valley Road. In these videos, people on TikTok are featured aggressively kicking in the front door of a residence, often late at night. Upon arriving at the scene, officers found that another door nearby had been kicked in, though they were able to identify the young suspect involved. The individual was detained for questioning before being later released to their parents. This case is still under investigation. Police are encouraging parents to talk to their children about the danger of destructive internet trends, and the criminal charges they may face for partaking in such activities.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – Many businesses in Gibson City are partnering together for the Sip and Shop Wine Hop, going on April 30th from 11am - 3pm. Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin says there are over 200 tickets for the event being sold… 

 

 

Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois is receiving two major awards from the National Science Foundation. The awards, which are used for research and development, total $40 million. In fiscal year 2021, the university had research and development expenditures of more than $731 million.

 

(Ford County-tr) – Next Saturday, April 30th, is National Drug Takeback Day. In observance of this day, the Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a Prescription Medication Take Back Opportunity Friday April 29th from 12-3pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison details the event… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign registered sex offender will spend half a decade in prison for violating the terms of his probation. Calvin Rexroad was sentenced to five years in prison. Rexroad admitted he violated the terms of his probation by living near a daycare.

 

 

Travis Duley will become the new PBL School District Superintendent

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton Buckley Loda High School principal Travis Duley has been named the newest superintendent for the district. Duley will transition into the role with the upcoming retirement of current superintendent Cliff McClure. Duley, who has been in the PBL School District for 20 years including 8 years as high school principal, will be Associate Superintendent for the 2022-2023 school year before taking over the top spot for the 2023-2024 school year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – More than 12 million dollars is being awarded to communities around the state to ensure students get to school safely. The Safe Routes to School Grants are funding 57 projects to improve sidewalks and bike paths and add ADA compliant ramps, says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Rantoul will receive $250,000 for new sidewalks, crossings, signage and a multi-use path near Pleasant Acres Elementary School.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Housing Authority is working to make housing more affordable. They are asking the county for one million dollars to move more families into homes. They want to give landlords incentives to rent to families who use housing vouchers. 

 

(Normal-jm) – Illinois State University employees have ratified their union contract in voting that began early Tuesday and lasted into the night. More than 92% of employees voted to approve the agreement that was reached with university officials last week. The new contract terms include wage increases for the lowest-paid workers and a retroactive pay increase for every employee.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The PBL school district has a few major projects coming up this summer, more specifically, in the Junior High building. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says that after this project, the JR High will be fully air conditioned…

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Rantoul-jm) –  A man who was arrested for attempted murder and other charges after officials said he fired shots at two Champaign County deputies has pleaded guilty to being an armed habitual offender. Around midnight December 3, two deputies were on routine patrol when they saw a vehicle going at a high rate of speed south on Route 45 at 2500N near Thomasboro. The deputies followed the vehicle, preparing to conduct a traffic stop when multiple shots were fired at their marked patrol vehicle from the suspect's vehicle.  The deputies chased the suspect as he traveled south on Rt. 45, west on Interstate 74, north on Prospect Ave. and west on Olympian Dr.  The suspect, Lawrence Paul Lewis, 27, of Champaign, lost control and crashed at the intersection of Olympian and Boardwalk in Champaign. Lewis was caught and arrested on preliminary charges of attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm at a peace officer, and resisting/obstructing a peace officer. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign has a new police chief. The city announced Timothy Tyler has been selected for the position after former chief Anthony Cobb retired. Tyler comes to Champaign with 29 years of law enforcement experience. He officially starts as chief June 6th.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The City of Paxton Streetscape program continues in the downtown area. The streets will be grinded and raised, says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. City leaders and local police officials continue to remind the motoring public to take extra precaution when traveling in the downtown area due to the construction project. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois added nearly 57 hundred teachers during the last school year, more than the past five years combined. The latest survey found that strides have been made in easing the teacher shortages in Illinois, says State Board of Education Director of Teaching and Learning Jennifer Kirmes…

 

 

State Board of Education’s Jennifer Kirmes. Kirmes says unfortunately, the remaining vacancies are in areas that need help the most such as in low income schools, special education and bilingual education.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College has a new police chief. The Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Troy Daniels to the position at last night's meeting. Daniels retired as deputy police chief for the city of Champaign in 2019.

 

(Buckley-jm) – A benefit for an area man will be held in Buckley coming up May 1st. Spokesperson Shawna Rose talks about the event…

 

          

  

Spokesperson Shawna Rose. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign City Council unanimously passed a measure that brokers a new agreement between the Champaign and University of Illinois Police Departments. The new agreement readjusts the departments’ jurisdictions in the Campustown area – bordered by Springfield Avenue on the north, Wright Street on the east, Windsor Avenue on the south and Neil Street on the west. UIPD officers would patrol that area more while CPD officers focus on areas of the city with a higher volume of calls. The City of Champaign would be paying the UIPD about $840,000 a year to make this happen. The university would cover about $320,000 to pay for equipment and other training. Seven officers would be added to the UIPD staff.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Mahomet man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for molesting a preteen. Andrew Huddle received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend no more than a 40 year sentence. Huddle was facing up to 60 years.

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  – A Southern Iroquois County man has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican position for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District in Illinois. Thomas Lynch of Cissna Park has announced his candidacy and is running in the June primary. Lynch introduces himself and talks about why he is running…

 

 

2nd Congressional District Republican Candidate Thomas Lynch of Cissna Park.

The Illinois Primary is set for Tuesday June 28th with the general election on November 8th. 

 

Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling. Now is the time to get your air conditioner checked to make sure it’s ready to go before you actually need it. By having your heating and cooling system checked on a regular basis you are ensuring that your indoor air is cleaner and healthier. Call Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling, your local Carrier dealer, today. You can hear more about Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling in our noon interview with General Manager Lisa Pearman.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new state budget into law

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new state budget into law, a plan he says offers one point eight billion dollars in tax relief for Illinoisans. The Governor says this historic, responsible budget includes direct rebate checks for working families, enacts a one week back to school sales tax holiday and suspends the tax on groceries for one year…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The budget increases college map grant funding and mental health and substance abuse services. It also invests more money in workforce training programs and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Masks are no longer required on public transportation in Illinois. In light of Monday’s federal court ruling, the Governor is amending a current executive order so that you won’t have to wear a mask riding public transit, in a transit station or at the airport. He noted local officials could set their own rules…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says no new statewide mitigations are currently planned but urges residents to get all their COVID vaccination shots and take precautions as they see fit.

 

(Danville-jm) – A casino coming to central Illinois is coming to life. Crews broke ground on the Golden Nugget casino in Danville Tuesday. It’s been in the works for over 20 years. They hope to open in March of next year.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul is looking to expand its multi-use path. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the expansion will allow more parts of Rantoul to be connected and provide  more bike paths … 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Champaign Police officials said they are looking into a situation involving shots fired over the weekend. It happened near Main and Walnut streets around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Officers responded to a report of shots fired. When they got there, they found shell casings in a parking lot near the intersection. Officials said there were no reports of anyone being hurt or any properties damaged in the incident. However, officers are continuing to investigate.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – The Village of Potomac and Vermilion County’s Juvenile Detention Center will be receiving some of the federal COVID relief money the county is receiving. Potomac will receive just over $91-thousand dollars for a water meter replacement project. The Danville Public Building Commission will receive $100-thousand dollars from the county’s COVID relief funds for new cameras and locks at the Vermilion County Juvenile Detention Center.

 

(Loda–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is the Federated Bank with locations in Loda, Onarga, Chebanse, Bradley and Braidwood.  Senior Vice President Nick Reutter talks about what he does with the local bank…

 

 

Federated Bank Senior Vice President Nick Reutter

You can learn more about the Federated Bank on all our newscasts today and with a conversation with Nick Reutter during the Noon news

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing the new state budget into law, a plan he says offers one point eight billion dollars in tax relief for Illinoisans. Rebate checks, an expansion of the earned income tax credit and a week long back to school sales tax holiday are all included in the budget. There’s also more money for college map grants, workforce training programs and early childhood education says Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The budget funds the hiring of more DCFS workers and 300 new Illinois State Police troopers. There’s 30 million for a violent crime witness protection program and another 30 million to help local police departments purchase body cameras.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking the public to think before you throw. IDOT is increasing efforts to clean up debris along the roads of Illinois, and urges everyone to do their part to reduce litter, says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel reminds that littering is illegal and could result in fines of up to 15 hundred dollars. He says interested groups can apply to be a part of the adopt a highway program.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A pedestrian was hurt after they were hit by a car. Champaign Police were dispatched to the intersection of Stanage Avenue and Randolph Street at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday in response to a report of an accident with injuries. A police investigation revealed that a car was turning northbound onto Randolph Street when it hit a pedestrian in the roadway. The pedestrian received minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital out of an abundance of caution. According to officers, the driver was issued a traffic citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

 

(Roberts-tr) – The village of Roberts is currently facing a series of water issues. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan says the repairs are long overdue…

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul Township High School student has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for bringing a loaded gun to the school. 16 year old Dean Cavett Jr pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to unlawful use of a weapon. He admitted to bringing the gun to the school on March 3rd, however, authorities don’t believe he intended to use it on anyone at the school.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is making masks optional on fixed-route, ADA paratransit, C-CARTS, and at all MTD facilities including Illinois Terminal. The order will go into effect immediately and comes after the federal Transportation Security Administration lifted its security directive mandating masks on public transportation conveyances and hubs on Monday. 

 

(Loda–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is the Federated Bank of Loda, Onarga, Chebanse, Bradley and Braidwood. Senior Vice President Nick Reutter says the local bank always has the “borrowing health” of its customers…

 

 

Federated Bank Senior Vice President Nick Reutter. 

We have an interview with Nick Reutter that can be heard in the Noon News block today.

Ground braking on a new Danville casino takes place today

(Springfield-jm) – It was another week of cool, wet conditions as we hear in the latest crop report. On average only about one day was suitable for fieldwork, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Four percent of winter wheat has headed and 45 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. That’s an improvement over the previous week.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A plea deal is expected in the case of a Roberts man accused of attempted kidnapping. Prosecutors are expecting Paul Theesfield to change his plea from not guilty as part of a potential plea deal before his May 3rd trial. Theesfield is accused of striking a woman with his vehicle in Gibson City back in December 2020 in an attempt to incapacitate, kidnap and sexually assault her.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County is preparing for their Spring Fling April 26th from 6pm-8pm after 2 years of not holding it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki says they will also be holding a meat raffle that same night…

 

 

Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation closed another ramp at the interchange of Interstates 57 and 74 on Monday. The ramp from westbound I-74 to southbound I-57 will be closed for five days in order for crews to construct temporary pavement. Drivers wanting to take this route are being detoured to Market Street via northbound I-57 to get on southbound I-57. After that ramp reopens, IDOT will shut down another ramp the following week. The ramp from eastbound I-74 to northbound I-57 will be closed for five days as well, with drivers detoured to Curtis Road via southbound I-57 to get on northbound I-57.

 

(Champaign County-tr) – The Champaign County Board approved ARPA funding to the Central Illinois Land Bank Authority in late March. Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis says that with these allocated funds, he is looking to build a track record and expand future benefits… 

 

 

 Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Congested traffic on U.S. 150 leaves the Mahomet village of trustees to vote on a $4.4 million road extension project. Village trustees gathered to discuss a contract with Feutz Contractors that would extend South Mahomet Road, creating a new route through the southeastern part of the village. As a main route throughout Mahomet, traffic in the east village is often backed up due to parents dropping off and picking up their children at Middletown Prairie Elementary School and commuters heading to and from work in Champaign. If voters were to approve a tax hike, construction of a new Mahomet-Seymour Junior High building would begin in June, just south of the elementary school. Under the current proposition, South Mahomet Road would be extended across the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks to a roundabout connecting it to an extension of Churchill Road. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Strong demand and prices are noted in USDA's latest forecasts for dairy. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is A House of Flowers downtown Rantoul. The business has new owners, but Paula Hopkins says it's an exciting time for the business…

 

 

A House of Flower’s Paula Hopkins

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – It was another week of cool, wet conditions as we hear in the latest crop report. Temperatures were below normal this past week and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at one percent very short, three percent short, 40 percent adequate and 56 percent surplus. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener takes a look at the winter wheat crop…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions improved as well, to 52 percent in good to excellent condition

 

(Onarga-tr) – Tim Hamilton, a long time employee for the town of Onarga, has announced his retirement. Onarga Mayor Shane Cultra says a party is being planned to honor his commitment to the town of Onarga…

 

 

Onarga Mayor Shane Cultra.

 

(Danville-jm) – A groundbreaking of a casino in Danville is happening today. After several years, city leaders will be participating in the groundbreaking of the casino. It’s expected to be in operation early next year.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – Many businesses in Gibson City are partnering together for the Sip and Shop Wine Hop, going on April 30th from 11am - 3pm. Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin says there are over 200 tickets for the event being sold… 

 

 

Gibson City Restoration Association President Sharon Heavlin 

 

(Champaign-jm) – This week, Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in getting information regarding a shooting that happened in 2021. On October 24, 2021, at around 1:15 p.m., Champaign Police were dispatched to the area of Town Center Boulevard and North Prospect Avenue in response to a report of a shooting with injuries. When officers arrived at the scene, they found 24-year-old Liam Gasser inside a vehicle with a single life-threatening gunshot wound to the head. Gasser is still recovering from his injuries. Investigators are actively pursuing all leads and seeking any information or video surveillance relevant to this case. They are asking any businesses or individuals with surveillance cameras or photos to review the footage for any persons or vehicles captured in the area either prior to or after the incident.

 

(Washington-jm) – Slight gains in both beef production and price forecasts were noted in the latest USDA outlook. Rod Bain reports…

 


(Rantoul–jc)  – Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is A House of Flowers.The business has new owners, Chad and Marlena Smith of Rantoul.  Paula Hopkins says the entire staff, including Hopkins, will continue with the business…

 

 

A House of Flower’s Paula Hopkins

You can hear more about A House of Flowers downtown Rantoul on our newscasts today and also an interview with Paula Hopkins during our noon news. 

Employees with the Illinois Department of Corrections are now suing over the state's COVID-19 testing and vaccine mandates

(Washington-jm) – 398 members of the U-S House of Representatives have been formally sanctioned by Russia including all but two from Illinois. Local Representative Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are among those sanctioned. Adam Kinzinger and Raja Krishnamoorthi were not sanctioned.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police have made an arrest in connection to a shooting that left a man hurt Sunday afternoon. Officers responded to the area of Market Street and Bradley Avenue at 12:43 p.m. for a report of shots fired. A short time later, a 27-year-old man arrived at an area hospital by personal vehicle with a gunshot wound to the arm. The injury is not life threatening and he is in stable condition. The preliminary investigation revealed that the victim and the suspect were involved in a verbal altercation that turned physical. The suspect then produced a gun and fired one shot, hitting the victim. Champaign Police later identified and arrested the suspect near Bradley and Sixth Street. Officers said the man appeared to be intoxicated at the time he was arrested and a search of his car turned up a gun and a spent shell casing. The gun was seized as evidence and the suspect remains in custody pending charges.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The statewide unemployment rate was down last month in Illinois. The jobless rate fell from four point eight percent in February to four point seven in March, marking the 23rd month in a row there’s been a decline. Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards says there was also job growth last month…

 

 

State Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. In March of last year, the state unemployment rate was six point seven percent.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) –  Construction on Thompson Avenue in Hoopeston is expected to begin this week as part of a more than $990,000 project. The construction zone will span from the CSX railroad crossing to 9th Street. Concrete curbs and gutters will be replaced and the road will be resurfaced. The road will remain open during construction, but will be reduced to one lane at times. Drivers are advised to exercise caution when traveling through the construction zone. Construction begins on Wednesday and is expected to wrap up in late August after 55 working days.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Today's WPXN Business of the Day is Paxton IGA. THe store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Paxon IGA Store Manager Craig Riecks says  with the “hometown proud” theme the store is  a center for groceries and more…

 

 

Paxton IGA Store Manager Craig Riecks. You can hear more about Paxton IGA on later newscasts today and we also have an interview with Craig Riecks during the neon news block today. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said a cat in Urbana was recently diagnosed with tularemia. Health officials said tularemia is caused by a bacteria found in animals. F. tularensis bacteria can be transmitted to humans via the skin when handling infected animal tissue. Infection can also occur when hunting or skinning infected rabbits and by inhaling dust contaminated with F. tularensis bacteria. This can happen during farming or landscaping activities, especially when machinery runs over infected animals. People can also become infected by being bitten by ticks carrying tularemia. Human infection can range from asymptomatic illness to life-threatening. Health officials said patients with tularemia usually have an abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache and fatigue following an incubation of two to 10 days. Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of tularemia is advised to contact their health care provider right away.

 

(Washington-jm) – Eggs are very popular this time of year, but we are paying a lot more for those eggs this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Employees with the Illinois Department of Corrections are now suing over the state's COVID-19 testing and vaccine mandates. 46 employees from 18 different facilities are involved. The employees are requesting a temporary restraining order. Governor JB Pritzker mandated that IDOC employees and other workers in congregate settings be vaccinated last fall.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois saw plenty of rain this past week. Some parts of the state are really soggy, while northern Illinois has welcomed the rain to help alleviate long-standing drought conditions, says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.


(Champaign-jm) – The Illinois Race Weekend hosted by Christie Clinic is two weeks away. The organization still needs over 200 volunteers, and 60 are crucial to watch over the course. Those interested in helping can go online to c-c-i-m dot illinois marathon dot com.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Paxton IGA is the WPXN Business of the Day today.. Daily, fresh cut meat is found at the local I-G-A says store Manager Craig Riecks…

 

 

Paxton IGA Store Manager Craig Riecks. You can hear more about the WPXN Business of the Day, Paxton IGA, on all news casts today.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – A local health care provider in Ford County will be among six to receive a portion of over $3 million in American Rescue Plan funding. The funding, announced by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, is meant to help with access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, food assistance programs and other services to help with community health outcomes.  Funding is coming from a new U.S. Department of Agriculture program set up by the American Rescue Plan.  Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services is the only central Illinois health care provider to receive part of this funding. Its total funding includes $72,200 to buy local equipment that will help with allowing COVID-19 antibody testing and the safe processing of COVID-19 samples. 

 

(Washington-jm) – The latest USDA pork production and price forecasts reveal tighter supplies and a price adjustment for hogs.  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says the new state budget includes record investments in the children of Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health warns that cases of COVID-19 are slowly rising in many areas of the state. The latest daily total is more than 33 hundred new cases, the highest number in nearly two months. Deaths and hospitalizations seem to be holding steady, but State Public Health Acting Director Dr Amaal Tokars says everyone eligible needs to get the shot to keep it that way…

 

 

State Public Health Acting Director Dr Amaal Tokars. Tokars says all but far southeastern Illinois are considered at low risk for transmission. But if that rises to medium or high in your community, you may want to wear a mask.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says the new state budget includes record investments in the children of Illinois. The budget that takes effect in July includes 600 million dollars in college map grants and more money for homeless youth and after school programs. The Governor says K through 12 schools will receive a higher level of funding than ever before…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. There’s also more money for preschool programs and to help teens find summer jobs.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign City Attorney Frederick Stavins announced that he will be retiring from the position after more than 40 years on the job. Stavins spent the majority of his legal career in Champaign. Taking the City Attorney position in 1981, Stavins lead the city’s Legal Department and its staff in providing legal review and advice to the City Council, Boards and Commissions, the City Manager and all city department heads. He also served as a lawyer for the city of Champaign Township and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. The 41 years he spent as City Attorney are a record for not only the position, but of any department head in Champaign. He served under six Mayors, four City Managers and numerous city council members and department heads while attending more than 2000 City Council meetings.

 

(Champaign County-tr) – The Champaign County Board approved ARPA funding to the Central Illinois Land Bank Authority in late March. Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis says that in just a few weeks, applications for funding will be available on their website… 

 

 

 

Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. Court documents establish that Charles Howard, 41, sexually abused and exploited a 15-year-old girl in his care. He further threatened to kill her and himself if she told anyone about the abuse. Howard has two prior convictions from 2000 and 2001 for criminal sexual abuse in Champaign County and was a registered sex offender at the time of his arrest in June 2020. A federal grand jury charged Howard in September 2020 with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of committing sex offenses as a registered sex offender. He pleaded guilty to all three counts in October 2021.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing of Paxton. Manager Kody Haas says the company has a lot of experience and a cool name…

 

 

Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing of Paxton Manage Kody Haas

You can learn more about Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing throughout the day today on WPXN.

 

(Washington-jm) – The new consumer price index shows food prices are still going up at a fast pace. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Looking to hire movers? The Illinois Commerce Commission has some advice so you don’t get ripped off. Recommendations include having the moving company go through each room of your home and provide a written estimate of the job, as well as discussing options for loss and damage protection. I-C-C Police Chief Ruben Ramirez says one complaint they get is movers saying they can’t finish the job without more money…

 

 

Illinois Commerce Commission Police Chief Ruben Ramirez. If that happens, Ramirez says you should call the company right away and report the movers. Same goes if they demand a tip.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Several lane and street closures on and near Lincoln Avenue will be expanded next week as crews continue a resurfacing project. The right northbound lane of Lincoln Avenue between Stoughton and Clark Streets has been closed to traffic since March 28. Clark Street itself on the east side of Lincoln has also been closed since that date. Starting Monday, the right lane closure on northbound Lincoln will be extended south of Stoughton to Green Street. Main Street east of Lincoln will also close to traffic. The previous lane and street closures will remain in effect. The left lane of northbound Lincoln will remain open, but the City of Urbana noted that closures may shift. Future closures will be announced as they arise during the project. Drivers are encouraged to travel carefully through the construction zone and to not drive through areas closed off to traffic.

 

(Onarga-tr) – The town of Onarga is ready to begin the second phase of their downtown sidewalk project. Onarga Mayor Shane Cultra shared how winter kept the project from moving forward… 

 

 

Onarga Mayor Shane Cultra

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Courthouse security officers arrested 22-year-old Aaron Young in connection to a drive-by shooting on I-74 in North Champaign in late March. Young was in court for an unrelated case when he was taken into custody on a warrant for attempted murder.The 22-year-old also faces two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Two people were taken to the hospital after the 2 a.m. interstate shooting between the Prospect Avenue and Neil Street exits. State police said the victims’ car crashed into the center median after being hit by gunfire that came from another car.

 

(Washington-jm) – How does USDA see corn export activity from Ukraine in its latest world supply and demand estimates? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing of Paxton is the WPXN Business of the Day today. Manager Kody Haas talks about their relationship with the “Lennox” brand…

 

 

Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing Manager Kody Haas. We have an interview with Haas set for the noon news block today. Dogtown Heating Air and Plumbing is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

The Loda American Legion will host their fish and chicken fry tonight from 4-7 pm. Cost is $10 for adults, children 8 and older are $5.

 

The Thawville Community Sale will take place on Saturday starting at 10 am.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the PBL Life Skills Class on Saturday from 10-2.

 

State lawmakers are working to address the increase in catalytic converter thefts in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – State lawmakers are working to address the increase in catalytic converter thefts in Illinois. The legislature passed a bill requiring metal dealers to keep a record of any catalytic converters they buy, says Chicago Representative LaShawn Ford…

 

 

State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. Additionally, dealers can’t purchase a catalytic converter worth over 100 dollars with cash. Illinois is one of the top states for catalytic converter thefts.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Democratic State Representative Justin Slaughter of Chicago blasted Illinois House Republicans contending they were racist for opposing the so-called Safe-T Act. The Safe-T Act was passed in early 2021 by the previous legislature in its closing hours. Law enforcement around the state has felt demonized by the measure which will ease criminal penalties and make it more difficult for police to do their jobs. Law enforcement agencies have had difficulty hiring officers while veteran members have retired, resigned or taken jobs in other states. Most of the Safe-T Act will not become law until 2023. Yet, Republicans have successfully been building support to use the Safe-T Act as a campaign issue while calling for tough crime bills.  Democrats tried to counter some of the blow back last week by introducing their own measures and providing more than $200 million for law enforcement in the FY 2023 budget. Republicans have said the state is in a crisis because of the act and point to an increase in violent crime.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Students would be able to take a day off school to attend a civic event under a bill headed to the Governor’s desk. The legislation lets public middle and high school kids take an excused absence to attend a civic event such as an artistic or cultural performance or an event sponsored by a non-profit group. Senator Dave Syverson of Cherry Valley voted against the measure…

 

 

State Senator Dave Syverson of Cherry Valley.  Supporters say these events can be very educational. It’s now up to the Governor to sign it into law.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is warning drivers to be on the lookout for turtles on the roads. When the weather warms in the spring, IDNR says turtles tend to start crossing roadways. Whether they are females going to or returning from a nesting site or turtles looking for a new home, there are many reasons turtles are on the move this season.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Cool, wet weather kept farmers out of the fields for the most part as we hear in the weekly crop report. Temperatures this past week were below normal and rainfall was above average says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Four percent of winter wheat has headed and 51 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, a slight improvement over the previous week.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Officers are investigating after a call of shots fired on Sunday night. Champaign Police officials said they got a report of shots fired near West Kirby Avenue and Westfield Drive. When they got there, officers found shell casings in the street and two homes hit by gunfire. No one was hurt in this incident.

 

(Urbana-jm) – People flock to the U of I’s Japan House every spring just to see the cherry blossom trees, and they’ll be blooming any day now. They say depending on the weather, the flowers may open up by the end of the week. The bloom won’t last long; the petals start to fall shortly after they open.

 

(Washington-jm) – The value of U.S. agricultural exports continues to climb, but what about the actual tonnage being shipped? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The WPXN Business of the day today is Furniture World downtown Rantoul. The business has been family owned since 1959 and located across the tracks in the downtown area of the village. The store carries name brand furniture like Lane and Best and also Bemco Mattresses. Currently the store has just received a large amount of recliners. The company's business liner is, “name brand furniture, at everyday low prices.”

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois may soon ban latex gloves for certain workers. The legislature passed a bill prohibiting restaurant, grocery store and other food service employees from wearing latex gloves while preparing food. This would apply to EMS personnel as well. It’s sponsored by Representative Justin Slaughter of Chicago…

 

 

State Representative Justin Slaughter of Chicago. If signed into law by the Governor the ban would take effect January 1st.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announce the second cohort of the Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity program. Broadband READY will allow five selected regional entities to receive a total of $250,000 to support planning, research, and data collection as they work to eliminate the digital divide.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State lawmakers passed a bill last week to end a type of housing discrimiantion. Some renters are being denied because of where their money comes from, such as social security or a housing choice voucher. Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago says his measure puts an end to that, by making it a civil rights violation to discriminate because of a source of income…

 

 

State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. 19 other states also have a similar law. It’s now up to the Governor to sign the legislation.


(Springfield-jm) – Cool, wet weather kept farmers out of the fields for the most part as we hear in the weekly crop report. Less than one day was suitable for fieldwork on average this past week as above normal rainfall in most parts of the state kept fields pretty soggy. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener gives an update on the Illinois wheat crop…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as four percent short, 50 percent adequate and 46 percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A pattern is beginning to surface following several shootings in north Champaign. A pair of parallel roads right off of I-74 has seemingly become a hotspot, particularly for drive-by shootings. The latest, on N Market Street early Sunday morning, marked the sixth shooting to trace back to N Market Street or Prospect Avenue in the last seven months. All of the incidents happened within a couple of miles, and all but one of them were drive-bys. At least one person was injured during each shooting dating back to late August. Two kids, a 9-year-old and a 15-year-old boy were among those hurt in the line of fire. In mid-October, a Champaign family ended up at the hospital after getting caught in the middle of two cars exchanging bullets on N Market Street near E Marketview Drive. Champaign police said two cars were chasing each other and eventually, the people inside started shooting at one another. 24-year-old Liam Gasser was shot in the head a couple of weeks later during what police called a “road rage incident” at a busy Prospect Avenue intersection. Then in February, a shooting happened in the parking lot of MarketPlace Mall. 22-year-old Diamond Mitchell shot a 19-year-old in the leg after a fight over a pair of shoes, according to Champaign Police Lieutenant Ben Newell. A late March shooting on I-74 marked the fifth incident in the area. State Police found a car that had crashed into a center median wall between the Prospect Avenue and Neil Street exits after it was struck by gunfire, according to a press release. Two people were taken to the hospital.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – Interstate 74 near St. Joseph will be reduced to one lane in each direction this week as IDOT crews begin construction on four bridges in the area. The bridges span the Salt Fork River and the Saline Branch west of St. Joseph. The right lane of the eastbound bridges will close today and the right lane of the westbound bridges will close on Wednesday. IDOT said the closures are necessary for a bridge deck overlay and substructure repairs. Construction on the right lanes is expected to be complete by Labor Day, after which construction will shift to the left lanes. The entire project is expected to be complete in November.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. agricultural export values are setting records during the first five months of this fiscal year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Illinois lawmakers passed a new state budget early Saturday morning, totaling over 45 billion dollars

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers passed a new state budget early Saturday morning, totaling over 45 billion dollars and paving the way for the new fiscal year beginning July 1st. Higher than expected state revenues and federal COVID money helped to support vital programs and secure the state’s financial footing says Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago. There’s more money for education, college map grants and public safety initiatives as well as funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Governor J-B Pritzker is celebrating passage of what he calls a budget for the people of Illinois. The budget is balanced for the fourth year in a row according to Democrats, supports local governments, provides tax relief and boosts staffing at nursing homes, says the Governor. It also addresses crime in Illinois…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says there are also more college scholarships for low income students including for career and technical education and a grant program for the hospitality industry.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation cracking down on organized retail theft made it out of the spring session. The heavily negotiated bill is in response to the growing number of smash and grab crimes that are committed not by teens stealing small items, but well organized gangs that sell the merchandise online, says Senator Suzy Glowiak-Hilton of Western Springs…

 

 

State Senator Suzy Glowiak-Hilton of Western Springs. The bill specifically defines organized retail crime in state law, gives prosecutors more authority to go after criminals across county lines and requires online marketplaces to verify the identity for sellers with a high-volume of merchandise.

 

(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 the day before Easter will feature candy dropped from a helicopter with many other events on the horizon… 

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Sports Operations Ryan Reed.

 

(Buckley–jc) – Today’s WPXN Business of the day is Edge Insurance-Abbe Insurance of Buckley. Agent Dylan Reetz is starting a daily Edge Market Minute today on WPXN.  Reetz will offer analysis on farm commodities and farm finances each day in our 7am news. Reetz says he grew up on a local family farm…

 

 

Edge Insurance-Abbe Insurance Agent Dylan Reetz

 

(Ford County-jm) – Ford County voters will soon be receiving new voter registration cards. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick announced new cards were mailed recently. Voters should receive them by April 15th. If not, you are asked to call the Ford County Clerk's office. The primary is set for June 28th.

 

(Washington-jm) – Here's a quick look at what USDA had to say in its supply and demand forecasts about prospects for wheat, corn and soybeans. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The new state budget includes more than one point eight billion dollars in tax relief. Some of the provisions are temporary, such as lifting the one percent grocery tax for a year and delaying a scheduled increase in the gas tax until January. The budget also doubles the property tax rebate up to 300 dollars and sends a one time payment of at least 50 bucks to most individuals and 100 bucks per kid. Decatur Representative Sue Scherer says this is what people need…

 

 

State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur. The earned income tax credit which helps low income working families will be expanded and there will also be a sales tax holiday for back to school purchases in August. Governor J-B Pritzker is celebrating passage of what he calls a budget for the people of Illinois. The Governor says the budget addresses crime by adding 300 new state troopers, funds violence prevention programs and supports mental health resources for law enforcement. It also funds more college scholarships and provides tax relief including direct payments going to most Illinoisans…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.  Governor Pritzker says they are also suspending licensing fees for bars and restaurants and offering grants to the still-struggling industry.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are voting to enact a ban on “ghost guns.” The bill basically requires all guns to have a serial number, outlawing so called “ghost guns” that can be put together with a kit bought online or using a 3-D printer. Representative Kam Buckner of Chicago sponsored the measure, saying it doesn't take away gun owner’s rights and should stand up in court if challenged…

 

 

State Representative Kam Buckner of Chicago. Supporters say Illinois law enforcement has seen a 400 percent increase in ghost guns over the last five years.

 

(Buckley–jc)  Edge Insurance-Abbe Insurance of Buckley is the WPXN Business of the day today. The Insurance Agency in the big white building on the south edge of Buckley has an experienced staff, says Agent Dylan Reetz…

 

 

Edge Insurance Abbe Insurance Agent Dylan Reetz. Reetz will have an Edge Market Minute in the 7am WPXN News hour each day. 

 

(Champaign County-tr) – The Champaign County Board approved ARPA funding to the Central Illinois Land Bank Authority back in late March. Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis explains the need for local funding… 

 

 

 Central Illinois Land Bank Authority Executive Director Mike Davis.

 

(Washington-jm) – Data from recent USDA reports such as quarterly grain stocks and prospective plantings are part of April production and supply and demand forecasts that cover the current marketing year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

A bill headed to Governor JB Pritzker's desk that aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritkzer and House Democratic leaders are announcing a state budget deal that includes one point eight billion dollars in tax relief. The proposed budget makes an extra pension payment and puts 200 million dollars towards new public safety initiatives. House Speaker Chris Welch says it also socks away one billion dollars into the state’s rainy day fund and addresses inflation…

 

 

House Speaker Chris Welch. Both the House and Senate now need to vote on the budget plan. Illinois Senate Republicans are offering a state budget plan with permanent tax relief. Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet says their proposal will eliminate the sales tax on groceries and prescription drugs, freeze the gas tax at 18 cents, raise the property tax credit and more. He notes this would be permanent, as opposed to the temporary measures being backed by Democrats…

 

 

State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet. Rose and his colleagues are asking the Democrats for a seat at the table as the final details of the new state budget are being negotiated.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill headed to Governor JB Pritzker's desk that aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts would require people to keep sale records of the devices. House Bill 107 would add catalytic converters to the definition of recyclable metal, requiring record keeping on the purchase of catalytic converters. Under the measure, the license plate number of the vehicle, photographs or video of the seller, a verified name and address of the seller, and a signed declaration by the seller stating that the catalytic converter was not stolen would be required. According to a recent ABC report, Illinois ranks third in the nation for catalytic converter thefts with over a 300% increase since 2019.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill with bipartisan support in the Illinois General Assembly to create a Crime Reduction Task Force Act now awaits the governor’s signature for final approval. House Bill 4736 would create the Crime Reduction Task Force composed of a bipartisan group including legislators, law enforcement, and legal and criminal justice professionals, as well as crime victims and witnesses. The task force would develop a plan of action to reduce crime across the state and report its findings to the General Assembly and the governor.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department went around the local area visiting businesses, explaining the drug Narcan and giving out free Narcan Kits. FCPHD Community Health Director Kami Garrison says a few more afternoons in April are being planned out to deliver more free Narcan Kits..

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kammi Garrison.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The public is invited to an event to support wounded veterans on Sunday. The event will be hosted by the University of Illinois Police Department, Illinois Army ROTC, Chez Veterans Center, Urbana Park District and the YMCA. The event will take place at the University of Illinois South Quad from noon to 4.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is the WPXN business of the day today. Chamber President Austin Curtis says there is a ribbon cutting ceremony in the city for a new business on Saturday…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis. We have an interview on the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce over the noon hour today.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Members of the Congolese community of Champaign set up a protest outside the Champaign County Courthouse asking for justice for a man stabbed to death this week. Dozens of people from that community were gathered with signs calling for a stop to the violence and justice for their brother, Nzengeli Mfwamba. Officers said he was hit in the head with a hammer and stabbed to death at Peppermill Lane and Brookfield Drive. They stated his daughter’s boyfriend- Dominic Fortune–was responsible.

 

(Buckley-tr) – Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be hosting a drive through pork chop dinner Sunday April the 10th serving from 11am to 12:30pm. CLHS Director Sandy Spitz shares what they will be serving that Sunday…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Police Department is once again opening the shooting range for public use. The range will be open the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10-noon through September. Cost is $10.

 

(Washington-jm) – Markets will have a better idea of South American crop production prospects in just a few hours when new USDA forecasts are released. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Illinois-tr) – American Red Cross of Illinois is encouraging the community this spring to celebrate by making a lifesaving blood or platelet donation. American Red Cross of Illinois Communications Director Holly Baker says that for a brief time, donated blood will be tested for Covid-19 antibodies… 

 

 

American Red Cross of Illinois Communications Director Holly Baker.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police were dispatched to the intersection of Paula Drive and North McKinley Avenue at around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in response to a report of shots fired. According to officers, due to the scene being in the right-of-way, a section of McKinley Avenue was temporarily closed while officers investigated. Police said no victims have come forward at this time.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce.  Chamber President Austin Curtis says the Paxton Streetscape project will upgrade the downtown area of the city to benefit shoppers, area citizens and the business district. Curtis says during the construction period, the chamber urges patience and understanding…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis. You can hear more about chamber events and more on later newscasts today.

 

(Normal-jm) –  More than 300 campus dining, grounds, and building service union workers at Illinois State University have issued a 10-day notice of their intent to strike. The employees’ union, AFSCME Local 1110, delivered the notice to university management on Thursday during a negotiating session in Normal. The workers prepare food, wash dishes and floors, clean restrooms and classrooms, shovel snow, maintain the Quad and more.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The City of Urbana is using a "scoring system" to guide its decisions for the Equality of Life. The project aims to bring infrastructure project requested in certain neighborhoods. The projects include street lights, sidewalks, and sidewalk ramps. All of which are aimed at either preventing crime or injuries.

 

(Washington-jm) – This week we'll get from USDA a new look at corn, soybean and wheat export prospects. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Buckley Lions Club will host a Lions Bingo tonight at the Buckley American Legion. Food will be served from 5-6 pm with Bingo beginning at 6:15.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Loda Truck and Tractor Pull on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Paxton Police Department shooting range will be open to the public on Saturday from 10-noon. Cost is $10.

 

The Gifford Fire Department will host their pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 7:30-12:30 at the German Fall Festival Building in Gifford.

 

Christ Lutheran High School Buckley will hold their drive thru pork chop dinner on Sunday from 11-12:30.

House democrats unveiled their plan to provide a little relief for Illinois families

(Springfield-jm) – Between the pandemic and rapid inflation, Illinois families have been hit hard over the last couple of years. House democrats unveiled their plan to provide a little relief. The house rolled out a plan that specifically targets the lowest income families. They specifically want to expand the earned income tax credit. That number goes up based on how many children they have as well. Under the new plan, 18 to 24-year-olds and those over 65 would now qualify. They would also increase the amount of money everyone that qualifies gets from the credit. The average family gets $500 from the credit. This increase would tack on an additional $50 on average. The democrats’ plan also includes a year-long suspension of the grocery tax, and a year-long freeze on the gas tax, meaning it can’t go any higher.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Department of Children and Family Services workers will be better equipped to defend themselves under a bill headed to the Governor's desk. The legislation is sponsored by Senator Steve McClure of Springfield, allowing DCFS investigators to carry pepper spray when visiting a home…

 

 

State Senator Steve McClure of Springfield. Investigators will have to go through a training course with the Illinois State Police on the proper use of a defensive spray.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Senator Linda Holmes has advanced a bill to make it easier for veterans seeking sporting licenses. House Bill 4680 streamlines the process to apply for and attain fishing, hunting, and sportsmen's combination licenses.  IDNR requested the change to remove the in-person requirement. They have the duty to establish what constitutes acceptable documentation for veterans applying for the licensing fee discount. This also applies to veterans who apply within two years after returning from service who are eligible for free fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for the number of years they were in the service. It passed in both the House and Senate and now moves to the Governor for approval.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill headed to the Governor’s desk seeks to improve equity in Illinois’ largest industry…agriculture. The measure, sponsored by Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago, sets up a commission of lawmakers, ag experts and others to come up with solutions…

 

 

State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago. Topics to be addressed include access to land and capital, plus training and education for minority farmers. The group will discuss the production of a wide range of crops including hemp and cannabis as well as livestock farming.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the identity of the man attacked outside his residence in Champaign Wednesday. Northrup says 49 year old Nzengeli Mfwamba died of blunt force trauma to the head and multiple stab wounds to the next. His death remains under investigation.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Starting today, South Matthew Avenue between West Springfield Avenue and Green Street will close to accommodate an event setup for a University of Illinois engineering open house. City officials said that drivers should expect delays in these areas until the streets reopen at around 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN business of the day is Debbie’s Gifts and More –L and D Upholstery of Gibson City. Owner Larry Spellmeyer says they have been in the upholstery business since 1978  and in unique gifts since 1995…

 

 

Debbie’s Gifts and More–L and D Upholstery Owner Larry Spellmeyer

You can hear more about the business on all news casts today on WPXN. 

 

(Paxton–jc) One popular Paxton eating establishment is set to close its doors. Owners of Just Hamburgers in Paxton announced with a sign on the door that they are closing after operating the food business for over 42 years. The scheduled last day of operations is April 30th. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A dog once found in a cage partially submerged in Kaufman Lake is helping to raise awareness for the prevention of cruelty to animals month. Dory was found on a cold November day in 2019. Doctors said the dog was so cold that their thermometers could not get any reading. The Champaign County Humane Society says she had also suffered abuse prior to being left in the lake. Dory's hip was broken and her skin was covered in scars. Dory's story went viral, even earning her a guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres show. By April 30, it will have been 910 days since Dory was rescued. In honor of this, the Champaign County Humane Society looked to raise $910 to help bring awareness to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, which is April.

 

(Washington-jm) – Grain marketers in Ukraine are looking for alternative ways to export grain. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Republican lawmakers are calling for action after eight contempt of court charges against Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith and the deaths of five children. They are requesting the Illinois Auditor General to do a full performance audit on DCFS. The proposed House Resolution 824 would require a report detailing the types of changes made by DCFS in protocols and training to prevent the deaths of children and if those protocols are effective at keeping children safe.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New protections for sexual assault survivors may soon be law in Illinois. The legislation ensures that the standards for not being able to give consent are met even when the victim has taken drugs or alcohol on their own. It’s sponsored by Senator Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights and was prompted by a woman in her district who was attacked and then told by police that her case wouldn't stand up in court because she had been drinking before it happened…

 

 

State Senator Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights. The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers sent a bill aimed at easing the state's teacher shortage by allowing substitutes to teach more days in the classroom to the governor's desk. Senate Bill 3893 passed the House and Senate unanimously. The measure allows substitute teachers to fill in up to 120 school days beginning with the 2021-2022 school year through the 2022-2023 school year. Currently, substitute teachers can't teach for longer than 90 school days for any one licensed teacher under contract in the same school year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing major renovations to one of the largest state-owned buildings in Illinois. The historic state armory in Springfield will undergo a 122 million dollar rehab after sitting vacant for the past several years, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The armory, located near the capitol complex will house state agency employees. Its rich history includes visits by past presidents and concerts.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The Bayern Stube Restaurant in Gibson City is set to auction off many of the items that decorated its walls. The auction will start on April 10 at 8 a.m. and end on April 20 at 6 p.m. This is an online only auction through Brad Strebeck Auctions.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Many residents are concerned after receiving a letter from Christie Clinic about a data breach. The health institute explained how its team performed an investigation, but some patient information may have been stolen. It mentioned in a statement how a single business account was invaded last year and how some patients' personal information, including their Social Security Number, may have been stolen.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  Debbie’s Gifts and More-L and D Upholstery of Gibson City is the WPXN Business of the day. Owner Larry Spellmeyer says one of the hot buys in toys are hot wheels maker kits…

 

 

Debbie’s Gifts and More-L and D Upholstery business owner Larry Spellmeyer.

We will have an interview about the business over the noon hour today.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theater in Gibson City recently introduced a new rewards program called Drive-in Dollars. According to officials, starting Friday night, people can get their rewards card at the box office or snack bar.

Every time a person purchases a movie admission either in person or online, they will get a punch on their card. In addition, every food order that is $10 or more will also get a person a punch on their card. Points can be redeemed at any time for different levels: 5 points for a free drink, 7 points for a free popcorn and 10 points for a free movie admission. The person or family that earns the most points by the middle of August will be entered to win a private movie night valued between $500 and $750.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Those who have a balance due in Champaign County for violations will be able to pay their balance without any additional fees as part of an Amnesty Week program.  The program, which runs from May 9-20, 2022, allows a person who has a balance due for violations that are classified as criminal, traffic, DUI, ordinance or conservation to pay the total amount due minus any late fees or collection fees that have accumulated. According to the Office of the Circuit Clerk, this doesn't apply to fines and costs that are already paid or tax refunds that have been applied against what is due and owing. 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has its first look at corn planting progress for the 2022 season. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Illinois lawmakers are working on a bill to ensure families can visit loved ones in a nursing home during a pandemic

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to protect teachers who get COVID-19. The law applies to school staff who are fully vaccinated, giving them paid leave if they are infected. The Governor says teachers have had to balance the demands of remote and in-person learning, as well as the health and safety of their own families during the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. This applies to public school districts, colleges and universities. Vaccinated teachers who previously have had to use sick days because of the virus will get those days back.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House is advancing a number of public safety bills. The measures hit on various issues including new ways to recruit and retain police officers. There’s also legislation creating a co-responder pilot program in Peoria, Springfield, Waukegan and East St. Louis says Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth…

 

 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth. While these measures passed, Republican lawmakers chided the Democrats, saying their bills are just an attempt to look tough on crime after passing criminal justice reforms last year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are working on a bill to ensure families can visit loved ones in a nursing home during a pandemic. The legislation lets long-term care patients and residents have at least one person at a time, as well as a clergy member visit them at the facility. It’s supported by Representative Charles Meier of Okawville…

 

 

State Representative Charles Meier of Okawville. The bill has passed the House and now awaits final consideration in the Senate.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Federation of Teachers voted on their new contract Tuesday night. According to officials, 76-percent of Unit 4 teachers voted in favor of the contract. The teachers were set to go on strike until an agreement was reached early last Wednesday morning. The board will vote next Monday to  officially ratify the contract.

 

(Danville-jm) – The city of Danville has been waiting for this moment for some time. They announced they’ll be breaking ground to build a new casino on April 19. When it’s finished, the casino is expected to open up 300 full-time employment opportunities. They’re projecting an opening date for March of 2023.

 

(Buckley-tr) – Enrollment is currently open at Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley. Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz encourages anyone seeking enrollment to reach out…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Director Sandy Spitz.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. Keirsten Trhlik was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting a peace officer on March 21st.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – The WPXN business of the day today is Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxton. The company has been in operation for over 42 years says owner Gene May…

 

 

Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling Owner Gene May. You can hear more about Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling on all our newscasts today. We will also have a conversation with Gene May over the noon hour today during the mid day news.

 

(Washington-jm) – We'll have to wait one more month for USDA's forecasts on this coming crop year's production, exports and prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Senate Democrats are announcing a plan to address the increase in carjackings in Illinois. One bill makes sure victims aren’t saddled with fines racked up by their carjackers, says Senator Omar Aquino of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Omar Aquino. Another measure lets law enforcement groups receive state grants and additional resources to help catch carjackers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White is launching a new organ and tissue donation campaign. This year’s campaign features 50-year-old Phillip Hanks of Joliet, who received five life-saving organs…

 

 

Phillip Hanks. More than seven point three million people have signed up for the registry, but Secretary White says about 300 people die each year waiting for a transplant. He urges those considering donation to speak with family about their choice.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Democratic state lawmakers are offering several ideas that they say take a smart approach to supporting law enforcement in Illinois. The large package of bills address everything from recruiting and retaining retaining police officers, to substance abuse and mental health services. Representative Natalie Manley of Joliet has a plan to give grants to daycares offering overnight care…

 

 

State Representative Natalie Manley of Joliet. The plan is supported by the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and Illinois Trooper’s Lodge 41.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Tuesday morning, a traffic stop in Champaign County led to two arrests and the seizure of an illegally possessed firearm. Officials said that at around 10:45 a.m. a deputy left his stationary position to conduct a traffic stop. But, when he started in the direction of the car, the vehicle accelerated away in a perceived attempt by the driver avoid the traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, 25-year-old Dion J. Thomas pulled into a gas station parking lot, and exited to the vehicle before running through the gas station to avoid police contact. Thomas returned a short while later when he realized that he had left his one-year-old child in the back seat. Upon arrival, Thomas provided a fake name as deputies checked the welfare of the child. They then noticed that the car smelled of burnt marijuana and the child was not secured in the back seat. The investigation also resulted in the recovery of a semi-automatic handgun, several hundred dollars in cash and two additional loaded handgun magazines. Thomas was arrested for being a convicted felon of a handgun and for endangering the life/health of a child. As authorities were investigating, the child’s mother, Gurldine Williams, arrived on the scene. An investigation quickly revealed that she was driving on a suspended license and had multiple warrants out for her arrest. When deputies attempted to take her into custody for her warrants, she actively resisted. She was then taken into custody for aggravated battery to a police officer, driving with a suspended license and for having multiple warrants.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Fighting Illini Men’s Basketball team made a visit to the state capitol Tuesday. Coach Brad Underwood, Athletic Director Josh Whitman and some of the players along with the Big Ten trophy visited the House and Senate chambers where they were recognized. The team even got to meet with Governor J-B Pritzker.


 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County is preparing for their Spring Fling April 26th from 6pm-8pm after 2 years of not holding it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki says they will also be holding a meat raffle that same night…

 

 

Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki

 

(Urbana-jm) –  Voters in parts of rural Champaign County will have permanent drop boxes for mail-in ballots for the first time in 2022. The 275-pound boxes made of reinforced steel will be in place ahead of the June primaries, according to Champaign County Clerk and Recorder Aaron Ammons who has been pushing for this for years. In total, the county plans to establish 13 boxes. Seven of those were in the ground ahead of the last election and five more are expected to go up in rural towns as soon as the weather warms up, but the sixth box, which the Champaign County Clerk expected to put in the Village of Tolono, was stalled unexpectedly by the village board.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxton is the WPXN business of the day today. Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling owner Gene May says the garbage hauling business continues to see more rules and regulation on items that can be hauled…

 

 

Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling owner Gene May of Paxton

We will hear more during the noon news with Gene May of Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxon, the WPXN business of the day. 

 

 

This is the final week of the spring legislative session with some big issues still on the table

(Springfield-jm) – This is the final week of the spring legislative session with some big issues still on the table. The top priority is to craft a state budget for the new fiscal year which begins July 1st. Additionally, there are calls for something to be done about the increase in violent crime and relief for families struggling with inflation. Last week Senate Democrats unveiled what they call the “pay it forward” proposal. The package includes an income tax rebate, says Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign…

 

 

State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign. The spring session typically doesn’t adjourn until May 31st but the date was moved up this year to April 8th.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers haven’t been able to get into the fields much as we hear in the first weekly crop report of the season. Thanks to the weather, less than one day on average was suitable for fieldwork, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Just 48 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is reported as five percent short, 53 percent adequate and 42 percent surplus.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign and Urbana firefighters responded to a fire near the corner of Busey and Indiana Avenue in Urbana early Monday night. Fire officials said there was heavy smoke when first responders reported to the scene at around 5 p.m. They said it took about 30 minutes to extinguish the fire. The roof and attic of the house sustained heavy damage, but no one was injured in the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department recently went around the local area visiting businesses, explaining the drug Narcan and giving out free Narcan Kits. FCPHD Community Health Director Kami Garrison says this drug could quickly help anyone having an opioid overdose…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers and Triad Shredding are offering community members a chance to safely dispose of personal documents, unwanted prescription drugs, and unused cell phones. This is a fundraiser for Crime Stoppers, and participant donations will be used to pay out cash rewards for anonymous tips that help solve crimes across Champaign County. The event will be held Saturday, April 23 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. in University of Illinois parking Lot E14. This parking lot is at the corner of First and Kirby in Champaign, just west of the State Farm Center. Crime Stoppers is asking for a $10 donation to shred up to two bankers boxes of private documents, including: old income tax records, bank statements, pay stubs, medical records, canceled checks, legal documents, utility bills, etc.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Work in downtown Paxton continues now through early fall. The Paxton Streetscape program includes some sidewalks and more in the downtown area of the city. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the streets will be raised during the process…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  – Today’s WPXN Business of the day is Creekside Prairie in Cissna Park. Creekside Manager Elsie Eisenmann says Creekside is a great option for independent living…

 

 

Creekside Prairie Manager Elsie Eisenmann. Hear more about our business of the day on all local newscasts. We also have an interview with Elsie Eisenmann of Creekside Prairie during our Noon news today.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois’ population decline reached record levels in 2021 as the state’s population dropped by 113,776 residents from July 2020-July 2021. Population decline was widespread during the year, affecting nearly all areas of the state as 81 of Illinois’ 102 counties saw population losses, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released March 24. Locally, Iroquois County lost 157 residents ranking them 42nd in the state. Ford County lost 22 residents ranking them 78th in the state. Vermilion County lost 788 residents ranking them 11th in the state. Champaign County added 474 residents ranking them 98th in the state.

 

(Washington-jm) – Producers as a whole, and crop producers specifically, received higher prices for most of their commodities in February. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding us that the income tax filing deadline is quickly approaching. You have until Monday, April 18th to get your return in, and taxpayers are strongly encouraged to file electronically. Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky) says help is available…

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. To get more information or to file your IL-10-40 for free, visit the website:  my tax dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers haven’t been able to get into the fields much as we hear in the first weekly crop report of the season. This past week was cold and wet, leaving less than one day for fieldwork on average. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says there have been scattered reports of planting and tillage. Looking at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture is reported as five percent short, 53 percent adequate and 42 percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs your help solving a retail theft case. In a news release, Crime Stoppers officials stated it happened at Good Vibes Sound on Round Barn Road in Champaign. On March 22, a woman distracted an employee while the other took electronics from a display and walked out of the store without paying for them. The second woman then grabbed other product as she went out the door. In total, the women stole over $2,400 in merchandise, according to officials.

 

(Illinois-tr) – American Red Cross of Illinois is encouraging the community this spring to celebrate by making a lifesaving blood or platelet donation. Exclusive t-shirts are being given out for those who choose to donate all according to American Red Cross of Illinois Communications Director Holly Baker…

 

 

American Red Cross of Illinois Communications Director Holly Baker

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois' Cline Research Center will release a database with numbers of lethal use of force by local officers in every county of the state. It will be released in summer 2022. They hope this tool will bring accountability and transparency.  

 

(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 very proud of his community and wants to find ways to keep improving the communities around him…

 

 

Ford County Walkthrough Health Fair Spokesperson Tim Nuss.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Spring home buyer fever has arrived early to the Champaign County area housing market as more buyers rush to lock in their home purchases before mortgage rates rise further, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS. A total of 159 home residential home sales were reported in February, up 5.30 percent from 151 sales one year ago. The February median home sale price for the Champaign County area stood at $175,000, up 7.69 percent from $162,500 in February of last year.

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  Creekside Prairie of Cissna Park is the WPXN business of the day today. Creekside Prairie Manager Elsie Eisenmann provides information on the turn-key state of the art facilities…

 

 

Creekside Prairie Manager Elsie Eisenmann. 

For more information about Creekside Prairie call 815-457-3311

 

(Washington-jm) – There were few, if any, real surprises in USDAs report on grain stocks. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

Teachers will get paid leave if they contract COVID-19 under a bill headed to the Governor's desk

(Springfield-jm) – Teachers will get paid leave if they contract COVID-19 under a bill headed to the Governor’s desk. The catch is that this only applies to teachers and other school staff who have been vaccinated, says Senate President Don Harmon…

 

 

Senate President Don Harmon. The bill also restores sick days that vaccinated teachers had to take during this current school year due to COVID.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is announcing opportunities to get rid of household hazardous waste this spring. Nine one-day events will be held around the state, where you can toss out items for free, says IEPA Spokesperson Kim Biggs…

 

 

IEPA Spokesperson Kim Biggs. Items that will not be accepted include latex paint, propane tanks and smoke detectors. Visit the state Environmental Protection Agency’s website for a list of locations, dates and times and to pre-register for the event you plan on attending.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House and Senate Democrats are unveiling a plan to reduce crime in Illinois. The proposal takes a broad, community-based approach, as opposed to just being tough on crime, says Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria. She lost her son in 2014 to gun violence and noted the importance of making it easier for witnesses to come forward…

 

 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria. The plan expands victim and witness services and creates a grant program to set up tip lines where people can come forward anonymously. It also funds local efforts such as after school programs and early childhood learning.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Ford County courthouse is reopening to the public today after being closed for a week after crews discovered the emergency communications tower next to the building was at risk for falling from corrosion. Crews doing work on the 9-1-1 antenna found significant corrosion in one of the legs of the tower prompting Ford County Sheriff’ Mark Doran to close the courthouse until the tower could be brought down last week.

 

This week is Community Banking Week. The Buckley St. Bank in Buckley is showing its appreciation to customers by offering donuts and coffee in the lobby from 8-11am each day this week.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois has had a record number of applicants this year. According to officials, the school had more than 63,000 applicants, which was drastically higher than the typical number of 30,000-40,000 potential students. Of those 63,000, there was an increase in in-state, out of state and international applicants.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The plans for the new Hampton Inn in Rantoul are complete. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says work is ready to begin as the warmer temperatures arrive… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new blood test that can detect early-stage liver cancer. The test is conducted with a small, portable machine the size of a toaster, and a few drops of a patient’s blood can detect biomarkers that attach to cancer cells. Test results can be delivered within 30 minutes, much faster than a PCR test, the usual method of detecting biomarkers.

 

(Paxton–jc) –  Today’s WPXN business of the day is Paxton Hardware and Rental. Owner Scott Allen says they have more than just nuts and bolts and hardware…

 

 

Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen

You can hear more about Paxton Hardware and Rental on our newscasts today, along with an interview with Scott ALlen during our noon news block today.

 

(Washington-jm) – Gary Crawford has some highlights from Thursday's USDA Prospective Plantings Report…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Democrats in the Illinois House are working to reaffirm women’s reproductive rights. If a nurse or doctor has their license suspended or revoked in another state because they assisted with an abortion, they could not be disciplined here in Illinois under a bill passed by the House. It’s sponsored by Representative Maura Hirschauer of Batavia…

 

 

State Representative Maura Hirschauer of Batavia. The House also approved a resolution supporting the Roe-v-Wade decision and full state funding of planned parenthood locations in Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is reminding the public about the dangers of not keeping their eyes on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving accounted for 15 percent of all crashes in 2019. Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt says the Secretary of State police will be conducting special patrols throughout the month, looking for distracted drivers.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – March weather was slightly warmer and wetter than normal. Although it’s been a chilly week, State Climatologist Trent Ford says last month tied for the 40th warmest March on record in Illinois…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Average statewide precipitation was about four and a half inches, although amounts varied widely across the state. That's more than an inch above normal. Ford says the rain, and in some areas sleet and snow, helped alleviate drought conditions in northern and northwestern Illinois.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The search of a Paxton man’s vehicle and home led to his arrest last week on numerous drug- and burglary-related charges. Justin Busby, 43, of Paxton, faces 10 charges, including two counts each of residential burglary and possession of methamphetamine, plus one count each of possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials, manufacture/delivery of cannabis, possession of ammunition without a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of drugs and driving with a revoked driver’s license. Also arrested and charged was Busby’s girlfriend Krista Duffin, 33, of Paxton for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Duffin was released from jail after posting bond.

 

(Springfield-jm) – One portion of the budget that could see an increase is in ag education. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says they are asking for a $2 million increase for ag education…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Police Department will be on the lookout for ordinance violations. Officers will be looking for violations during the month of April. Homeowners will receive a couple of weeks to resolve the violations before further action could be taken.

 

(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 the day before Easter will feature candy dropped from a helicopter with many other events on the horizon… 

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Sports Operations Ryan Reed.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Eastern Illinois Foodbank recently purchased a neighboring warehouse as part of their expansion plan. According to officials, the building, former home to Lang Distributing, is located about 23 feet to the north of the current facility. Officials said this purchase modifies their original plan to expand their existing building to the south. Instead, the existing building and the new building will be connected and renovated. Construction on the warehouse expansion is planned for summer 2022.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN business of the Day is Paxton Hardware and Rental. They have a huge Spring paint sale starting this week. Owner Scott Allen says the paint sale has an Easter color theme…

 

 

Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen. We will be talking to Scott Allen over the noon hour today as part of the WPXN Business of the Day.

 

(Washington-jm) – The surprising numbers in USDA's report on farmers' planting intentions are not the last word on what will actually get planted. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Registered voters can now request a mail-in ballot for the June 28th primary election in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Registered voters can now request a mail-in ballot for the June 28th primary election in Illinois. The primary is a little less than three months away, but it doesn’t hurt to start planning and get your ballot. State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich says you can start the process on their website: elections dot il dot gov…

 

 

State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. That website again is: elections dot il dot gov. Mail-in ballots will be sent out on May 19th, which is also when in-person early voting begins.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Internal Revenue Service said refunds totaling almost $55 million may be waiting for 55,767 Illinois taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2018.  About half of those potential refunds could be $840 or more, the IRS said. Refunds totaling more than $1.5 billion may be waiting for 1.5 million people nationwide who did not file a federal income tax return for 2018. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – State lawmakers are working on ways to address the rising cost of inflation. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says something has to be done…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Roberts-jm) – Roberts residents could be paying more on their water bills. Village trustees will be asked to approve a $9 rate increase at their meeting on April 4th. Residents will see their base rate increase from $40 to $49. The village is looking to raise rates to replace 178 water meters in the village. That’s estimated to cost around $130,000.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Department of Transportation announced that construction will resume on Interstate 74 to replace two bridges — one over Market Street and another over the Canadian National Railway yard in Champaign — starting Saturday. On April 3, two-way traffic on I-74 will shift to the eastbound lanes while the westbound portions of the bridges are built. Work is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving.


(Rantoul-tr) – The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County is preparing for their Spring Fling, April 26th from 6-8pm after 2 years of not holding it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki says wine tastings and music will be available…

 

 

Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Executive Director Andy Kulczycki.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  The Champaign County History Museum has accumulated several accolades. The museum was also awarded three additional Awards of Excellence in the categories of Exhibits, Conservation, and Community Partnership.  The Award of Excellence in Exhibits was presented for the exhibit William McKinley’s Road of Good Service, focusing on the transformative power of electric rail service across Central Illinois. The Award for Excellence in Conservation was presented for the transformation of the museum's research library. It now offers the public a fully accessible and online research tool for community history. The Award for Excellence in Community Partnership was presented for a partnership with the Champaign Park District to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Virginia Theatre.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a 309 million dollar assistance program for homeowners impacted by COVID-19. Eligible households can receive up to 30 thousand dollars in aid for a variety of expenses, says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Applications will be accepted starting April 11th, but Field recommends checking the website, illinois housing help dot org now to find out what documentation is needed.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Democrats are considering Chicago as a potential host for the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Many prominent Illinois Democrats are leading the response to the Democratic National Committee, including DNC Vice Chair Sen. Tammy Duckworth, according to Tarrah Cooper Wright, CEO of Rise Strategy Group — who is helping support the bid. Chicago last hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1996 at the United Center.

 

(Paxton–jc) – Paxton Park District officials are hoping that fundraising efforts will help the group and its board decide whether the Paxton Park District pool will open this Spring and Summer. Costs to maintain and operate the facility runs thousands of dollars each year.  Park district officials will be on hand tomorrow from 10am to 12-30pm to provide tours of the pool and also to provide information about the pool operation.  Former Pool lifeguard, Tessa Pilcher says one way to help raise money is with a “Go Fund Me” fundraiser…

 

 

Save the Pool "Go Fund Me"  Spokesperson Tessa Pilcher.  Those wanting to donate may go to the “Go Fund Me” site and search Paxton pool, or you can drop off a donation at the Paxton Park District office.
 

(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting their fish and tree sale. Fish orders are due by April 6th. Tree orders are due by April 4th.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – Village of Rantoul leaders are looking for another balanced budget for the next fiscal year.  Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the budget meets the needs for the village… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is now offering people an additional COVID-19 booster shot if they meet the eligibility criteria. The FDA had previously approved a fourth COVID dose for only people aged 12 and older with severely weakened immune systems. On Tuesday, the FDA expanded eligibility for a fourth dose to everyone aged 50 and older. The CDC subsequently recommended a fourth dose as long as recipients are four months removed from their third dose.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Spring is officially here and many people may be wondering how to best keep weeds away from their gardens. Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental shares an efficient way to keep weeds away using mulch…

 

 

That’s Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental. You can hear  Scotts Tips for Success Saturday morning at 7:30am  on WPXN. 

 

(Rantoul-tr) – Lincoln’s Challenge Academy Placement Department is currently looking for businesses, education institutes, and professional organizations to present at Class 58-22’s career day on April 14th at the LCA Field House. Help guide and influence the careers of tomorrow’s leaders. For more information please call 217-761-1363.

 

U of I Chemistry Professor Dr Joaquin Rodriguez-Lopez will present Storing Energy Big Time Using Nano Materials as part of Parkland College’s Staerkel Planetarium Kaler Lecture Series tonight at 6:30 pm.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Paxton Swine n Dine on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Dennis Stroughmatt and Band will perform at the Melvin Community Hall on Saturday at 7 pm. Cost is $10 for adults. Children 12 and under are free.

 

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