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WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-05

The Dads Association at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Illini Dads Centennial Plaza on June 11

(Springfield-jm) – With the implementation of the mandated gas pump sticker announcing a delay in a gas tax increase looming, a pending lawsuit argues the legislative intent is political. Part of the state budget that begins July 1 is a delay in the annual gas tax increase, an estimated two cents a gallon. The delay is for six months with the expected increase taking effect at the pump January 1 with another scheduled increase July 1, 2023. The law also requires gas stations to post a sticker on each gas pump stating the gas tax increase has been delayed. The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, which represents gas stations and convenience stores across the state, filed a lawsuit against the sticker mandate.

 

(Paxton-)  A large number of communities honored those who have died protecting our country at ceremonies for Memorial Day. In Paxton at Glenn Cemetery,on Monday morning, Paxton Buckley Loda Teacher- American Legion spokesperson-and veteran  Tim Hess said the day is about honoring those who gave all…

 

 

P-B-L teacher, American Legion spokesperson and veteran Tim Hess. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A two-story brick house in southwest Champaign has been torn down after an overnight fire last week. That was the only way investigators could search the remains for a man who is still unaccounted for. Police are now treating this as a missing person’s case. They are looking for 50-year-old Jose Javier Andrade. Firefighters took the house apart piece by piece searching for him for nearly five hours. Investigators don’t believe he was inside while it burned, but they are still trying to track him down. He was last seen at the house around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, which was about seven hours before the fire started. The fire department spokesperson says investigators are not aware of anything suspicious that may have happened. They are still trying to figure out how it started.


 

(Springfield-jm) – Marc Smith, the director of the Department of Children and Family Services has been held in contempt 11 times since the start of the year. That has led to calls for change in leadership from House Republicans including Representative Deanne Mazzochi…

 

 

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign church is raising money to give to those struggling with medical debt. The Community United Church of Christ is raising money for RIP Medical Debt, a non profit organization that helps pay off medical debts. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Dads Association at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Illini Dads Centennial Plaza on June 11. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the corner of Illinois Street and Lincoln Avenue, just west of the Hallene Gateway. Officials said the ceremony marks the start of the construction that is set to begin this summer and to be finished by Illini Dads Weekend on November 4.

 

(Washington-jm) – Agricultural imports as well as exports increased in USDA's latest quarterly ag trade forecasts, but why?  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) –  A new report is highly critical of how Chicago and other large cities present their financial reports.  Truth in Accounting says to truly understand a city’s financial condition, taxpayers have to play an impossible game of hide and seek. The government watchdog's analysis of the 10 most populous U.S. cities included underlying government units for which city taxpayers are responsible for, such as schools and transit, details Chicago leaves out of its financial report. When the unfunded debt of these underlying government units is combined with the county, municipal and state debt, city taxpayers are on the hook for much more than they think. In Chicago, each taxpayer is burdened $135,700.

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  In Cissna Park Monday morning, a large crowd gathered in the park for the annual Memorial Day ceremony. The address was provided by  Calvary Lutheran Pastor Aaron Uphoff of Watseka. Uphoff told those in attendance that those who died represent all of us…

 

 

Calvary Lutheran of Watseka pastor Aaron Uphoff.

A large number of area towns and cities provided similar programs to honor all those who gave their life to our county. 

 

 

(Gilman -tr) – The Iroquois West School District will be upgrading the elementary school building with some new playground equipment. Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says that in a year or two, the playground should be complete…

 

 

IW Superintendent Angelo Lekkas

 

(Champaign-jm) – If you have a security camera, Champaign Police are hoping you'll register it with their new program. Through the new program, police hope the public can help them better catch crime near their home or business. If you have a security camera, video doorbell, or a similar system you can let the police department know about it through the Security Camera Registration Program. This way, if a crime happens in the area police know who they can reach out to in order to see if the crime was caught on camera.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith has been found in contempt of court 11 times since January. State Representative Steve Reick puts the blame on the Pritzker Administration…

 

 

State Representative Steve Reick. Governor Pritzker has blamed the Rauner Administration’s budget impasse for the issues at DCFS.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign is asking for the public’s feedback on how to spend $2.97 million the city received through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Program. The HOME Program is meant to assist individuals or households who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, and other vulnerable populations, by providing housing, rental assistance, supportive services, and non-congregate shelter. The funds the city received were allocated by the American Rescue Plan.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Save the Paxton Pool committee has received a significant donation. The local chapter of 100 Plus Women Who Care Alliance recently gave the group a check of nearly $5,000. The committee has been working with the park district to get the pool ready to open this summer.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's second quarter agricultural trade forecasts notes a significant increase in exports from the previous report, and another potential export record. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Concerns over inflation have made many rethink travel during the summer

(Springfield-jm) – 15 Illinois counties are now at high community levels for COVID-19 infection. Nearly 37 thousand new COVID cases were reported this past week, which is an overall decline from the previous week. Still, there are areas with increased virus activity. The “high level” areas include Chicago, Cook, surrounding counties in northeastern Illinois as well as counties around Peoria. Another 30 are considered at medium community levels. With that in mind, the State Department of Public Health urges at-risk individuals to be cautious this weekend says Spokesperson Mike Claffey…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Those who do get sick are urged to contact their doctor for treatment.

 

(Southern Illinois-jm) –  Concerns over inflation have made many rethink travel during the summer. Southern Illinois may offer respite from high prices. The region is ripe for exploration and there is a lot of fun to be had as well. People can get a free 2022 Annual Visitors Guide from the Illinois South website.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is offering some tips to help prevent foodborne illness this holiday weekend and throughout the summer. Food should be packed in one cooler and drinks in another, since the drink cooler will be opened more often says Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Additionally…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Food shouldn’t be left out longer than two hours. If it’s above 90 degrees, refrigerate leftovers after an hour.

 

(Dupage County-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois in 2022. The DuPage County Health Department collected a positive mosquito batch on May 24, from Roselle in DuPage. No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.

 

(Springfield-jm) – It will cost more to run your ac this summer. Ameren Illinois announced a rate increase of $50 a month. State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur was part of a legislative committee that met to hear about the increase that starts June 1st…

 

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.

 

(Undated-jm) – Today is Memorial Day and here’s a list of times and places for services around the area:Cissna Park 9am  Roberts Cemetery-9 am, Pine Ridge Cemetery Loda - 9 am, Lisk Cemetery Thawville 9:30 am, Melvin Cemetery 10 am, Gibson City parade at 10 am service at Drummer Township Cemetery 10:30 am, St. John’s Cemetery Buckley 10:30 am, Paxton parade at 10:30 am service at Glen Cemetery 11 am, St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery Penfield 10:45 am , Maplewood Cemetery Rantoul 11 am, Elliott Cemetery 11:30 am and Werner Roessler Park Gifford at noon.

 

(Washington-jm) – There are many ways to turn your cookout into a sickout. Here are just a couple. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois courts want to hear feedback from the public about holding proceedings remotely. A task force under the Illinois Judicial Conference is launching two surveys, one for the public and one for legal professionals, says State Appellate Court Justice Mary Rochford…

 

 

State Appellate Court Justice Mary Rochford. The surveys ask about the benefits and drawbacks of remote proceedings, barriers to participating and whether certain cases or types of hearings should continue to be offered virtually. To participate, visit: illinois courts dot gov and click on additional resources and then remote proceedings.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature aims to increase access to prostate cancer screening without co-pays or other cost-sharing in Illinois. House Bill 5318 would require private insurers in Illinois to provide all qualifying male policyholders with an annual prostate cancer screening upon the recommendations of a physician. The American Urological Association estimates that more than 10,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Conservation Police are boosting water patrols for the Memorial Day weekend. Lieutenant Curt Lewis says they will hae as many boats as they can staff out on the water, looking for drunk drivers and others not following the law…

 


Illinois Conservation Police Lieutenant Curt Lewis. The State Department of Natural Resources says most boating accidents involve operators between 20 and 40 years old. Most often the person is driving a motorboat carelessly or recklessly and ends up hitting another boat.

 

(Undated-jm) – According to new U.S. Census data, cities and towns in Illinois lost more than 104,000 people in the 12 months up to July 1, 2021. Nearly half of Illinois’ loss was from Chicago. There were big winners in Illinois, but even bigger losers. By total population, the top three gains in Illinois were Yorkville, Montgomery and Champaign, which all gained less than 1,000 people. The top three cities with the greatest losses were Chicago, which lost over 45,000, Cicero, and Arlington Heights.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Attorney General’s office along with local lawmakers are warning the public about scams related to the baby formula shortage. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City provides an update on the formula shortage and how parents can protect themselves from becoming the victim of a scam…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

New state laws will further protect consumers when it comes to health insurance coverage

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging people to watch out for rabid bats and other animals this summer. Four rabid bats have been reported in Illinois since May 15th. They were found in Champaign, Jackson, Macon and Will Counties, says State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey…

 

 

State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Public health officials say while there is a preventive treatment for rabies, it’s one of the deadliest diseases. If you have been bitten by any animal, it’s advised to seek medical care immediately.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Thursday that the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus have been confirmed in Illinois for 2022. The DuPage County Health Department collected a positive mosquito batch on May 24, from Roselle in DuPage. No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New state laws will further protect consumers when it comes to health insurance coverage. The laws give the Illinois Department of Insurance additional authority to help people surprised with huge medical bills and requires health insurance cards to include more information such as deductibles, out of pocket maximums and contact numbers. These will help with several issues, says Agency Director Dana Popish Severinghaus…

 

 

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Dana Popish Severinghaus. Another law sets up a study into health insurance access and affordability among a variety of demographics.

 

(Undated-jm) – According to new U.S. Census data released Thursday, cities and towns in Illinois lost more than 104,000 people in the 12 months up to July 1, 2021. Nearly half of Illinois’ loss was from Chicago. There were big winners in Illinois, but even bigger losers. By total population, the top three gains in Illinois were Yorkville, Montgomery and Champaign, which all gained less than 1,000 people. The top three cities with the greatest losses were Chicago, which lost over 45,000, Cicero and Arlington Heights.

 

(Gilman -tr) – The Iroquois West School District held their Graduation Ceremony this past Saturday. Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas shared some thoughtful words about the graduating class and their accomplishments…

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A man is dead after he was hit by a car Wednesday night. It happened near Park Street and Cunningham Avenue shortly before 9 p.m.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said 50-year-old Christopher Bowen was crossing the street at the time. Bowen was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to police officers, the driver of the vehicle involved, a 27-year-old, Urbana woman was cited for operation of an uninsured motor vehicle for failing to provide valid insurance at the time of the crash. She submitted to chemical testing and was released.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Firefighters responded to a house engulfed in flames overnight on Thursday. This happened between Stonebridge Street and Ironwood Lane. Fire officials were called to the scene around 2:00 a.m. They reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the home.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary Thursday explained new proposals designed to benefit poultry producers in the marketplace. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The unemployment rate was down and jobs were up in most Illinois metro areas last month. The jobless rate fell from year ago levels in all of the state’s 14 metro areas, says Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. Over the year job gains were seen in all metro areas except Danville. The largest increases were in Chicago and the suburbs as well as Rockford, Bloomington, Springfield and the Quad Cities.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Fifteen counties in Illinois are now listed as having high COVID-19 community level, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week that number was 8. Ford, Champaign and McLean Counties remain at high risk. Iroquois and Vermilion Counties remain at low risk. The CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health encourage people in high risk areas to wear a mask indoors.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing three new laws to combat carjacking in Illinois. The first measure was sponsored by Chicago Representative Omar Aquino. At a press conference, he said it’s meant to help a person who has had their car stolen…

 

 

State Representative Omar Aquino of Chicago. Another law better funds police efforts to prevent and investigate carjackings while the third updates state law to address the latest in vehicle theft technology.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Thousands of Illinois families who are struggling to pay for the rising cost of utility bills will be getting an economic boost from the state. More than 250,000 families who are in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will receive $200 to help with energy costs. All LIHEAP recipients are eligible to receive the one-time payment and no additional action is needed. The $200 will be paid directly to utility companies and will be marked as a LIHEAP credit on the bill in July. Recipients will also receive a letter. For those who aren't a part of LIHEAP, the deadline to apply for utility assistance is May 31, 2022.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul will be marking their village streets and parking lots across town.. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says a few state roads are exempt to this project…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Undated-jm) – The 21st Judicial circuit has a new judge starting in July. Marlow Jones has been appointed to fill the vacancy when Judge Adrienne Albrecht retires July 5th. Jones has served as assistant state’s attorney in Kankakee County. The 21st Judicial Circuit covers Kankakee and Iroquois Counties.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Center Partnership invites the public to explore Campustown this summer during the return of 13 Thursdays. The annual 13-week promotion features deals and discounts at participating Campustown businesses every Thursday starting yesterday.

 

(Washington-jm) – Funding for lending programs for meat and poultry processors is one of the latest announced efforts to expand production capacity. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Danville Area Community College will host their annual car show on Saturday. Registration is from 9-11. Trophies will be handed out at 3.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Rainbow Girls on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting more cases of severe hepatitis in children

(Springfield-jm) – A new state law will make it easier for survivors of domestic violence to file an order of protection. The law provides survivors of sexual or domestic abuse the option of filing online. It was sponsored by Amanda Pyron, Executive Director of the network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence. She says some counties have already adopted this practice in response to the pandemic…

 

 

Advocating Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Amanda Pyron. The law also requires larger counties in Illinois to offer survivors to attend hearings remotely.

 

(Springfield-jm) – May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and a national organization claims Illinois can do more to keep bikers alive. Fatal motorcycle crashes jumped 13% in Illinois last year, higher than the national average of a 9% increase. Nationwide, 6,101 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2021, the highest number on record. Illinois is one of only three states that doesn’t have any form of motorcycle helmet law. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in states without all-rider helmet laws, almost 60% of motorcyclists killed in 2019 were not wearing helmets. That compares to 9% in states with such laws. Illinois had a helmet law up until 1970, when lawmakers repealed the measure. According to Advocates, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle riders are nearly 29 times more likely to be killed in a traffic crash than occupants of passenger vehicles.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting more cases of severe hepatitis in children. A total of nine pediatric patients are under investigation for hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver. That’s up from the three reported last month, says Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey…

 

 

State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Officials are asking doctors and parents to keep an eye out for potential symptoms including fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 14-year-old was recently arrested after he was accused of stealing a car in Champaign on Sunday. The teenager had been convicted five times for possessing stolen vehicles before he was arrested again on Monday. According to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, the 14-year-old was accused of stealing a car that belonged to an Uber driver who left his car unlocked to run inside the Target store in Campustown for a quick errand. About 25 hours after the car was reported stolen, Champaign Police spotted the vehicle and saw a young male driver with several passengers inside. They arrested the driver, the 14-year-old, in the 1300 block of Mariner Drive. The teen was charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, obstructing justice and failure to comply with his home detention. He is currently on parole. Rietz also charged two other teenagers who were accused of being involved in the confrontation with Champaign Police when they attempted to gather information about the passengers in the stolen car. Rietz said a 15-year-old was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly spitting on a police officer and aggravated resisting a police officer for running from another officer who hurt his leg while chasing the teen. He was released to his grandmother. The other teenager, a 16-year-old, was charged with resisting a peace officer after he was accused of running from police who saw him walking near where the stolen car had been abandoned. He is currently on parole for mob action.


 

(Springfield-jm) – The state received several billion dollars from the federal government to help during the pandemic. Some Republicans, including 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the state misused that money…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department has launched a new program that lets members of the public better help police in the event of a crime near their home or business. The Security Camera Registration Program allows community members and business owners with security cameras, video doorbells and similar systems to inform the Police Department of the presence of private surveillance systems that may be of assistance to police investigating criminal activity in the nearby area. Those who wish to register their surveillance systems with the City can easily register online at champaignil.gov/mycamera. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Our nation Wednesday filed a second dispute to Canada's dairy tariff-rate-quota policy within the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing two new laws addressing children’s mental health. One law creates the Children’s Mental Health Council, made up of experts from a variety of fields. Senator Meg Loughran Cappel of Shorewood discussed the measure at a press conference, saying the group will tackle multiple issues…

 

 

State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel of Shorewood. Governor Pritzker signed a second law requiring all youth in foster care to be assigned a mental health provider and given a well-being assessment.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Legislative Audit Commission met with the Illinois State Police Merit Board to discuss the spending of $550,000 in taxpayer funds to twice investigate an employee who was terminated from her role in 2020 over wage theft allegations. The Audit Commission found that the ISP paid former Merit Board CFO Jenny Thornley over $71,000 in taxpayer dollars in disability and workers' compensation pay, even after she was fired by the merit board. Thornley was charged in Sangamon County in September 2021 with stealing up to $100,000 in false overtime claims. It’s alleged she forged the signature of the agency’s executive director, Jack Garcia. After Thornley learned about the investigation into her alleged wrongdoings, she accused Garcia of groping her in his office. That allegation was determined to be unfounded.The two investigations into Thornley cost the taxpayers more than $550,000.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A postcard invitation from the Champaign County County Executive to complete a countywide broadband survey will be mailed this week to specific households that have been randomly selected in each area of the county. The Champaign County board has committed to using a significant amount of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding to help expand broadband services in the county. To decide how to invest the county’s funds, the County Executive’s office is conducting a countywide broadband survey in cooperation with the University of Illinois and Champaign County Farm Bureau in the month of June. According to officials, the information will give them critical information that will be used to support broadband service providers to expand services in the best ways to meet the local needs.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Ethics reform has been a major talking point recently following the 22 count indictment of former House Speaker Michael Madigan. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says a new report out hi-lites the need for change…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Early voting has begun in Champaign County for the 2022 primary elections. In-person early voting started at 8 a.m. last Thursday. You can vote at the Brookens Administrative Building in Urbana weekdays 8:30-4:30, Saturdays 9-4 and Sundays 10-4. June 13th through the 27th other locations will open up including Lake of the Woods Pavilion in Mahomet, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph and The Gathering Place in Rantoul. June 25th through the 27th, more locations open up including the Mahomet Public Library and the Rantoul Recreation Department. More information on times, locations and who’s on the ballot can be found at the Champaign County Clerk's website.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has once again raised its forecast for 2022's retail food price inflation. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The state is joining the National ``Border to Border '' campaign to enforce seat belt laws through the Memorial Day holiday

(Rantoul-jm) – In updating our story, Rantoul fire officials believe Tuesday's fire was arson. It was the third time the home at 1601 Gleason Drive has caught fire. The cause of the first fire was undetermined and the second fire was considered suspicious. The state fire marshal's office is also investigating.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning the public about a Salmonella outbreak linked to Jif peanut butter. The CDC has confirmed 14 cases of Salmonella illness spanning 12 states says State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey…

 

 

State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Several varieties of Jif peanut butter products have been pulled. You can check the website: fda dot gov for a list of codes that fall under the recall and toss out any products that match.

 

(Crescent City-jm) – An old high school building will be torn down. Crescent-Iroquois High School closed down in 2009. Students now go to high schools in surrounding towns. The building used to have workers with the special education program within it. However, they were transferred to another building in Gilman around three years ago. The board of education approved demolishing the building. However, a date for when that work will begin has not yet been announced.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul is looking at a variety of ways to update their waste water system. An initial engineering study has been considered, with a $148,000 price tag. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the system needs to be reconstructed so that it's more sustainable for the community in the future…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – A Hoopeston couple have been arrested after they were accused of stealing from the place they worked. Rakesh Mishra and Amika Mishra were arrested by Hoopeston police following a several month investigation into thefts at Tedds Beverage.

 

(Washington-jm) – The outlook for the nation's broiler producers is what one analyst calls, "strong". Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is joining the National ``Border to Border '' campaign to enforce seat belt laws through the Memorial Day holiday. The Illinois Department of Transportation, State Police and hundreds of local law enforcement agencies are teaming up this week to make sure everyone is buckled up, says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Last year there were 11 crashes over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Illinois, leaving 14 people dead.

 

(Undated-jm) – A nursing care management company must now pay $3 million in overtime back wages. The United States Department of Labor found that Peterson Health Care Inc., which is based in Peoria, failed to pay nurses the correct amount of overtime. Because the employer wrongly assumed they weren't entitled to overtime pay. This decision will impact 3,024 caregivers at 84 residential nursing care facilities across the midwest, including some facilities here in central Illinois.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is part of a program known as the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The program  offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Ford County Public Health Department Communicable Disease Nurse Kristen Buhs details the registration requirements…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Communicable Disease Nurse Kristen Buhs.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Those 5 and over can now schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 booster shot at Carle locations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now officially recommends that eligible individuals 5-11 should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after the completion of their primary series. Carle will have access to booster appointments available in Pediatric and Primary Care offices across the region. Anyone can schedule an appointment through their local COVID-19 hotline number, found on www.carle.org

 

(Washington-jm) –  Despite higher feed costs, the nation's pork producers are expected to expand output next year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Boy Scout Astronomy merit badge workshop will be held tonight from 7-9:30 at Parkland College’s Staerkel Planetarium. Cost is $5.

 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is extending emergency rules to further protect poultry from Avian influenza

(Springfield-jm) – DCFS Director Marc Smith was held in contempt of court and fined $1,000 per day for the 11th time since January 6, 2022. This is the 11th time in less than six months that Director Smith has been held in contempt of court for failing to place a child appropriately in violation of court orders.  The eleventh contempt order involves an 11-year-old girl who has been in DCFS’ care since she was 5 years old. In the six years the girl has been in DCFS’ care, she has bounced back and forth between abusive foster homes, emergency foster homes, psychiatric hospitals, residential placements, shelters, and hospital emergency rooms.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is extending emergency rules to further protect poultry from Avian influenza. State Veterinarian Dr Mark Ernst says the rules prohibiting the sale or exhibition of poultry will continue and be re-evaluated in 45 days…

 

 

State Veterinarian Dr. Mark Ernst. Additionally, Illinois 4-H is moving all county fair poultry shows to a virtual format while the emergency rules are in place. A decision about shows at the state fair is expected by mid-June.

 

(Champaign-jm) – On Friday, members of the Champaign Police Department gathered with law enforcement, elected officials and community members to pay respect to fallen heroes. The annual Police Officer Memorial took place in West Side Park. Everyone in attendance paid their respects to the three Champaign police officers killed in the line-of-duty; Officer Thomas Dodsworth, Officer Robert Tatman and Officer Chris Oberheim.

 

(Undated-jm) – Area politicians are remembering former U-S Congressman Tim Johnson. Johnson died earlier this month. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman shares his thoughts on Johnson…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Health departments around central Illinois are teaming up to cut down on overdoses. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District got a grant for Narcan to spread throughout nearby counties and save lives. Champaign-Urbana shared a portion of the grant with Ford County to increase the impact across the region.

 

(Washington-jm) – When will we see a turnaround in the current global low supply and high price wheat situation? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – COVID-19 is ramping up again in several areas of the state. There were over 40 thousand new cases of COVID this past week and 56 additional deaths in Illinois. Several counties have moved to either Medium or High community levels of the virus, making it important to stay up to date on your shots and wear a mask indoors if needed, says State Public Health Interim Director Dr. Amaal Tokars. She urges those that do get sick to call their doctor right away for the appropriate therapeutic treatment…

 

 

State Public Health Interim Director Dr Amaal Tokars.  Illinois counties seeing the heaviest COVID activity include Boone, Lee, Stephenson, Winnebago, Peoria, Tazewell, Champaign and Ford. Hospitalizations have been increasing, with more than one thousand COVID patients admitted.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced they are in support of the CDC’s recommendation regarding the Pfizer-BioNTechCOVID-19 booster dose for children aged 5 to 11 years old. IDPH issued an advisory to vaccine providers endorsing the booster for children 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completion of a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, following the emergency use authorization this week by the FDA and the recommendation of the CDC.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Older Americans Month and the theme this year is “Age my Way.” The goal is to promote services that are available to help seniors stay in their homes. Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta says the best place to start is the state’s senior helpline…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. The senior helpline number and several other resources including in-home services, emergency home response, automated medication dispensers and support for caregivers is available online at: illinois dot gov slash aging.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD), in partnership with Carle Health, OSF HealthCare, Christie Clinic, Promise Healthcare and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, continues to provide COVID-19 initial vaccination doses, boosters and Pfizer pediatric vaccinations and boosters. This includes Pfizer boosters for kids 5-11 after the CDC and IDPH made the recommendation.

 

(Pontiac-jm) – There’s more calls for answers on the future of the Pontiac Correctional Facility. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Undated-jm) – Ameren Illinois is partnering with communities in six central Illinois counties to upgrade neighborhood streetlights with more energy-efficient LED streetlights. Local communities receiving the upgrades include: Fisher, Foosland, Gifford, Ludlow, Penfield, East Lynn, Hoopeston, Rankin, Buckley, Cissna Park, Loda, Elliott, Gibson City, Melvin, Paxton, Roberts and Sibley. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Demand for meat is growing, but meat production is falling. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The City of Paxton Brush Pick up will take place this week.

 

Illinois expanded protections for sexual violence survivors in the military under a new law

(Gibson City-jm) – The Gibson City Melvin Sibley community is mourning the loss of one of their high school students. Junior Colin Bane was killed in a crash Wednesday night in McLean County after the vehicle he was driving was struck by  a commercial motor vehicle. The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is encouraging students to wear red and black today to show support.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report from the United State Census Bureau shows that the population of Illinois actually increased in 2020. This comes after a review of the 2020 census data that shows Illinois was undercounted by nearly 2%. This means that Illinois’ population grew by nearly 250,000 people and is now above 13 million people for the first time in Illinois history.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois winter wheat production is projected to be up this year. The May report is out and crop statistician Mark Schleusener says while the yield is down a little bit, more acres are expected to be harvested…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Overall winter wheat production is forecasted to be 49 point 5 million bushels, an increase of three percent over last year. Additionally, Illinois producers say the amount of hay stored on farms is down about four percent from one year ago.

 

(Roberts-jm) – Weather permitting, the Roberts-Melvin fire department will be doing a controlled burn of a house on North Main Street on Saturday morning. Part of the road will be blocked off except for local traffic. Expect water to be slightly discolored throughout Saturday as a result.

 

(St. Joe-tr) – Some surveys  and study sessions are being conducted to see if the town of St. Joseph could sustain an expansion. St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling Vogues says that talk of expanding to the north is in the early stages… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling Vogues

 

(Gibson City-jm) – GCMS Superintendent Jeremy Darnell has been named Superintendent of Distinction. Darnell received the recognition from the Cornbelt region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. The region includes school districts in Ford, Iroquois, Livingston and McLean Counties.

 

(Washington-jm) – How might consumers, farmers and ethanol producers benefit from an emergency waiver allowing sale of e15 blended fuels at the gas pumps this summer?  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois expanded protections for sexual violence survivors in the military under a new law.  Senate Bill 257 makes changes but growing the authority of military protection orders to beyond military locations. This would give survivors full protection, no matter where they are located, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. There will be more employment protections for survivors as they recover. If a service member is a sexual violence victim or survivor, they will be protected under this law as both a service member and a member of the community where they live.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A-A-R-P is teaming up with Illinois officials to urge seniors to get their second COVID-19 booster shot. During a virtual discussion, state experts said the second booster shot is recommended for people over 50, those 12 and older with a compromised immune system and anyone who originally received the single Johnson and Johnson shot. Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta was asked where to get the booster…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. You can also visit: vaccines dot gov to search for locations. The State Department of Public Health says you should wait at least four months after your last dose to get the second booster.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  A 5 year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were hurt in a shooting that happened Wednesday night in Champaign. Champaign Police responded to the intersection of 4th and Church Streets at approximately 7:23 p.m. for a report of shots being fired. When they arrived, they discovered a house was hit by shots and a boy inside was shot in the hand. Soon after, officers learned that an 18-year-old man arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm. Both are expected to be ok

 

(Gibson City-tr) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It's a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. Gibson Area Hospital Clinical Therapist Vicki Angstmann shares two key components to mental health… 

 

 

Gibson Area Hospital Clinical Therapist Vicki Angstmann.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul police officer Alex Carbajal has been named the Rantoul Exchange Club officer of the year. Carbajal is the Rantoul Township High School Resource Officer.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA recently announced updates to three livestock insurance products designed to give producers greater flexibility. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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

 

The Paxton Buckley Loda High School Band will host their 22nd annual Salute to Veterans Concert on Saturday at 7 pm. A lasagna supper will be held prior to the concert from 5-6:30. Cost for the dinner is $7. The concert is free.

 

The Paxton Save our Pool Group is hosting a fundraising cookout and festival on Sunday at the pool in Paxton. The event is set for 11am to 3pm on Sunday with lunch, a foam party, dunk tank, yard games, giveaways, t-shirt sales and more. Support the pool by attending the event on Sunday in Paxton.

 

Early voting for the June primary begins today

(Champaign-jm) – The 16 year old teen that struck and killed a St. Joseph tow truck driver in Champaign has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. On the night of March 5, Ross Booker was using a broom and bucket to clean up the road at the intersection of South Neil Street and Windsor Road in Champaign following another car wreck. Dash camera footage from a Champaign Police squad car and a tow truck shows the 20-year-old sweeping in reflective clothing near the emergency vehicles with flashing lights on. Booker walked out of camera view before the moment he was hit. The 16-year-old driver, who was described as “fully cooperative and distraught”, was originally charged with improper lane passing involving an emergency vehicle, a Scott’s Law violation.  State’s Attorney Julia Rietz divulged in court Wednesday that the 16-year-old was driving in the proper lane that police left open to through traffic. That charge was dropped in court Wednesday. Instead, the teenager was convicted of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The 16-year-old’s driver’s license will be revoked.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Early voting for the June primary begins today. You can cast your ballot at your local county clerk or elections office says Illinois State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich…

 

 

Illinois State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. Additionally, local election authorities can start sending out vote-by mail ballots to those who have requested one. You can find more voting information including how to register online at: elections dot il dot gov. The primary will be held June 28th.

 

(Undated-jm) – An investigation of hepatitis impacting children now involves patients from dozens of U.S. states and territories including Illinois.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 states and territories have reported 180 pediatric patients under investigation in the last seven months. This is an increase of 71 from the 109 patients reported on May 5. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols this weekend. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College trustees held a moment of silence for one of their own. Former State Representative Tim Johnson died last week at 75. Johnson served in the Illinois House from 1976-2000 before representing the 15th Congressional District from 2001-2013. Johnson was then elected to the Parkland College Board in 2015 and has served up until his passing.

 

(Chatsworth-jm) – A Chatsworth man is facing child sex charges. 36-year old Jessie Sanders is charged with traveling to meet a minor and indecent solicitation. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department will hold their annual memorial service this Friday. The ceremony will take place at the memorial at west side park at 9 am. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law banning ghost guns in Illinois. Criminals are increasingly turning to homemade ghost guns since they are easier to get and don’t require a background check, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Supporters say cracking down on ghost guns is a vital part of combating gun violence.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Two bills signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker are focused on providing better health care access for rural Illinoisans.  Senate Bill 3017, changes the Loan Repayment Assistance for Physicians Act to address a health care provider shortage. Senate Bill 1435 changes hospital licensing procedures in order to clear the way for health center mergers and greater health care coordination in rural districts. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Schools got some support recently from the state. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to probation for forging checks from his employer. Corey Mims received the sentence in Champaign County court to 1st offender probation after he forged several thousand dollars in checks.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Republican lawmakers are calling on changes at the Department of Children and Family Services. An audit detailed serious failures to protect children and the department’s head Marc Smith has been found in contempt of court 10 times since January. State Representative Tom Weber of Lake Villa says it's time for a change in leadership…

 

 

State Representative Tom Weber of Lake Villa. Governor Pritzker has blamed the situation on the Rauner Administration's 793 day long budget impasse.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Clerk’s Office announces early voting begins today. Voting will be open at 8:30 a.m. this morning in the Brookens Admin Building in the gymnasium. The Champaign County Clerk has expanded early voting sites to help voters have access to the voting booth.  

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana facility is receiving several hundred thousand dollars from the state for workforce training. Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana is receiving $450,000. It’s part of a $20 million initiative from Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the First Presbyterian Church in Hoopeston today from 12-4 pm.

 

The Girl Scout Space Science Adventurer Badge workshop will be held tonight from 7-8:30 pm at Parkland College’s Staerkel Planetarium. Cost is $4 per scout.

 

New state laws will further protect workers in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Republicans are calling for major changes at the State Department of Children and Family Services. GOP lawmakers say a recent audit, critical of the agency, illustrates why there should be new leadership, improved policies and more transparency at DCFS. Representative Chris Bos of Lake Zurich…

 

 

State Representative Chris Bos of Lake Zurich. Governor J-B Pritzker was asked about the problems at DCFS and whether the current director should be replaced. The Governor said the agency needs stability, blaming the previous administration and said that Marc Smith is a good leader.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There are only three states in the country with an average gas price per gallon under $4, and Illinois isn’t one of them. According to GasBuddy, the national average is now $4.46 per gallon, up over 15 cents from a week ago. The only three states with a gas price average under $4 are Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma. The average price in Illinois is now up to $4.82.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New state laws will further protect workers in Illinois. The first measure strengthens the One Day Rest in Seven Act, which gives employees the right to at least one day off every workweek, says Department of Labor Acting Director Jane Flanagan…

 

 

State Department of Labor Acting Director Jane Flanagan. A second new law addresses children in the entertainment industry, requiring employers to provide more justification for expecting young performers to work overnight hours.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to probation for a theft on the U of I campus. Dominic Brummond was sentenced to 30 months probation after pleading guilty in Champaign County court after admitting to stealing a watch and cell phone from a person back in November. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state received an audit recently. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the results…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Undated-jm) – Road construction season is upon us. Some of the projects happening include repaving Route 24 in Iroquois County. Another project in Iroquois County includes repaving 6 miles of I-57 around Buckley including the on and off ramps. Drivers are encouraged to slow down and stay off their cell phones in construction zones.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The opening day for the Gibson City public swimming pool at North Park is set for June 1. The pool in Rantoul is set to open Memorial Day weekend. No opening date has been set for the Paxton pool, However, A Fundraising cookout and festival is taking place this sunday from 11-3pm at the Paxton Civic Center. Lunch will be served  along with yard games, a dunk tank, face painting, a foam party and more. The Save Our Pool cookout and festival presented by the “Save the Paxton Pool” Committee.

 

(Washington-jm) –  USDA has just made its first forecast for U.S. wheat production and prices for the next marketing year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is taking action to help families affected by the current shortage of baby formula. The Illinois Department of Human Services is working closely with Mead Johnson, the Chicago-based manufacturer of Enfamil to ensure low income parents have the formula they need. Retailers are asked to do their part as well says Spokesperson Marisa Kollias…

 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Marisa Kollias. The Department of Human Services has trained caseworkers to assist families with formula questions through a helpline at: 1-800-843-6154. You can also go online for answers at: dhs dot illinois dot gov slash baby formula.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker may help college students save some money amidst the skyrocketing prices for tuition. The new law requires universities to give students access to online versions of their course materials on the first day of class. The online alternatives would be priced at a significantly lower cost than printed textbooks.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Schools will have to provide students with plant-based meal options under a new state law. The law says that vegan and vegetarian meals must be available to kids who submit a request ahead of time. It was supported by Senator Mattie Hunter of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Mattie Hunter of Chicago. This new requirement won’t take effect until the school year beginning in August of 2023.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 2 and a half years for a DUI crash that injured a woman. Gerard Becnel received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to aggravated DUI. Becnel admitted to driving under the influence on the afternoon of March 5, 2021 and colliding with a woman’s vehicle on Perkins Road in Urbana. 

 

(Pesotum-jm) – District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting distracted driving enforcement patrols tomorrow. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department posted a graphic on social media explaining how the license plate readers work. Issuing a ticket for expired registration is not something these Automatic License Plate Readers are intended for. The image released on their social media pages shows that cars would tracked if they are involved in serious crimes such as shots fired investigations, stolen cars, and kidnappings.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Mahomet residents will be voting on a referendum in June to invest $97.9 million into upgrades and new building in the Mahomet-Seymour School District. The plan is called the Bulldog Blueprint, with the main goal to build a new junior high school for the district. The plan would build the new school, while also expanding the size of the districts high school and both elementary schools. But it will also impact those tax payers. The average home in Mahomet is around $273,000, which would lead to an increase of $799 dollars in property taxes per year. The referendum will be on the ballot on June 28.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary shared his conversation with his Canadian counterpart this weekend regarding dairy tariff rate quota disputes within the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is celebrating one million claims paid out through his office's I-Cash Program

(Springfield-jm) – With gas prices maintaining record highs across Illinois, Republican state Sen. Dave Syverson says state lawmakers should head back to the capitol immediately for a special session to address the situation. In a statement, Syverson said they should pass legislation "to provide real, meaningful relief to consumers." He's pushing for capping the sales tax on motor fuel at 18 cents a gallon and a repeal of the looming freeze of the annual gas tax increase of two-cents a gallon that's been delayed from July 1 to January 1. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A gas leak forced a major road in Rantoul to close last night and forced neighbors out of their homes. The leak happened on Mary Alice Road near U-S 136. Emergency crews shut down 136 and several surrounding roads until Nicor could fix the issue.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is celebrating one million claims paid out through his office’s I-Cash Program. Treasurer Frerichs says hitting the million mark during his tenure and ensuring unclaimed property gets back into the hands of rightful owners has been gratifying…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs says it’s easier than ever to search and claim property due you or your family members. Just visit: illinois treasurer dot gov. About one in four people searching the database have success.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois bill signed into law is designed to help mothers who suffered sexual abuse during childbirth at the hands of their doctor.

Illinois State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe introduced SB 3163 on January 12, 2022. The bill amends the state’s Vital Records Act by allowing parents or an adult-age child to remove a physician’s name from a copy of said child’s birth certificate. In Illinois, the short-form birth certificate does not include the physician’s name. However, the doctor’s name is present on the long-form certificate. The new law takes effect January 1.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers finally got a chance to really get some work done in the fields this past week. After quite a few rainy days in a row, more than five days were suitable for fieldwork. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says producers spent that time tilling fields, applying fertilizer and planting crops…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 38 percent of soybeans have now been planted and nine percent have emerged. 57 percent of winter wheat has headed and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at two percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that four projects have been recognized as “Projects of the Year” by the Illinois chapter of the American Public Works Association. They include the Kickapoo Rail Trail in Vermilion County, a railroad bridge in Washington Park, slope improvements in Alto Pass, and pedestrian and transit access to Lincoln’s Tomb and the Dana Thomas House in Springfield. 

 

(St. Joe-tr) – Summer maintenance is being planned in the town of St. Joe. St. Joseph Mayor Tami FruhlingVogue says some big plans are in the works for a new expansion to their sewer system… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling Vogues

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating after a swastika was found etched on a door on the U of I campus. It was discovered Saturday afternoon on a men's bathroom stall door at the English Building. An estimated cost to repair the damage was unavailable.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary Monday discussed a communique issued by the G7 ministers about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impacts on food security. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor Pritzker signed into law on Monday a bill that was directly inspired by the disappearance and death of Jelani Day. The bill requires Illinois coroners to notify and consult the FBI if they are unable to identify a body within 72 hours of the body being found. Day’s body was found in the Illinois River on September 4, but his remains weren’t officially identified until 19 days later.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing more than 11 million dollars in funding to family planning clinics around the state. A federal grant and matching state money will help boost the efforts of clinics providing critical reproductive care, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says these services are more important than ever as attacks on reproductive rights increase.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker signed a measure into law that amends the Illinois Act on Aging and designates protections and services for older LGBTQ adults. Senate Bill 3490 was signed by the governor on National Honor Your LGBTQ Elders Day, which recognizes older individuals who fought for equality and led the equality movement that continues to be active. Changes made to the act set up the Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging, which will investigate and advise on helping services and needs of older LGBTQ adults improve. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers finally got a chance to really get some work done in the fields this past week. The sun emerged and more than five days were suitable for fieldwork, advancing corn planting by 40 points to 55 percent complete. 13 percent of corn has emerged. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 57 percent of winter wheat has headed and 52 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. That’s an improvement over the previous week. The first cutting of alfalfa hay has begun, with one percent now complete.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Fire were called to a house fire Monday afternoon. It happened near Swigart Street and West Columbia Avenue. Fire officials said the call came in around 2:15 p.m.. The caller said they saw smoke coming from a 2nd floor bedroom. Officials said when they got on-scene, they did find flames coming from that bedroom. It was contained to that room. One person was home at the time. They got out of the house. Firefighters did rescue a dog. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Village of Rantoul has received a big response from its community members about a Cannabis Dispensary License Referendum. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it's been decided to wait until July to make any major decisions…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs your help solving a case. Officials said officers were called in reference to a fight that happened around 2:15 a.m. April 30 at Green Street Café in Champaign. Two women were having an argument when it turned into a physical fight. A woman was stabbed. She was taken to the hospital where she was treated and then released. Additionally, a man did try to break up the fight and was hurt as well. Officers said his injuries were minor. Officers are trying to find a woman they believe is a suspect in this case. She possibly left the area in a blue Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to officials.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. corn growers can probably expect prices to keep edging up from now through the fall harvest. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to combat organized retail theft in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law to combat organized retail theft in Illinois. The law gives local prosecutors more authority to go after smash and grab criminals in other counties and the Illinois Attorney General could prosecute via a statewide grand jury, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also creates the “Inform Act”, cracking down on stolen goods being sold online by requiring third party sellers to verify their identity.

 

(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County Coroner Bill Cheatum is releasing the name of an inmate that was found unresponsive in his cell. Cheatum identified the inmate as 32-year-old Apolinar Solis Jr. of Hoopeston. Solis was found in a holding cell by Iroquois County Correctional Officers who were booking him into jail on an arrest warrant. Preliminary autopsy findings show that there were no unidentified natural diseases and no evidence of significant or internal trauma that caused Solis’ death. Toxicology results are pending.

 

(Undated-jm) – The number of Illinois counties that now have medium COVID-19 community transmission has nearly doubled in the past week. A total of 23 counties in Illinois are now rated at the medium community level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Local counties include: Champaign, Ford, McLean and DeWitt. The state reported over 40,000 cases in the past week.

 

(Pontiac-jm) – State Representative Tom Bennett and State Senator Jason Barickman held a meeting in Pontiac last week to discuss the Pontiac Correctional Facility. Representative Bennett talks about the meeting…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Undated-jm) – A couple of school boards around the area meet tonight. In Gilman at 7, the Iroquois West school board will discuss the Illinois State Board of Education’s consolidated district plan, discuss playground equipment in Gilman and discuss sex ed standards. In Mahomet at 7, the Mahomet Seymour school board will discuss updates to the student-parent handbook and consider hiring a construction manager.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's first soybean forecast for the upcoming year paints a very encouraging picture for growers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A nutrition and wellness expert at the University of Illinois Extension is offering some tips to slow down muscle loss as you age. After age 30, our bodies become less efficient at building and maintaining muscle, says the Extension’s Diane Reinhold. Some people are at higher risk than others…

 

 

U of I Extension’s Diane Reinhold. Reinhold says that’s why it's important to develop habits early like exercising and eating healthy. She suggests both walking and strength training to help retain muscle and eating plenty of lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Foods rich in Vitamin-D are particularly helpful.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  The Champaign Police Department is investigating after shots were fired at the intersection of Bradley and McKinley Avenues Sunday afternoon. Officers were dispatched to the intersection at approximately 3:30 p.m. Upon arrival, officers determined that multiple people were firing at each other and left the area before they arrived.

 

(Sibley-jm) – Firefighters from Sibley and Gibson City battled a barn fire Saturday afternoon. Crews were called out just before 4:30 to the fire at 950 north 300 East. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Rantoul Exchange Club will be putting up flags in honor of Memorial Day. Past President of the Rantoul Exchange Club Janet Brotherton details how to get involved… 

 

 

Past President of the Rantoul Exchange Club Janet Brotherton. The cutoff date to become a sponsor is today. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) – A nominee has just been named to fill the USDA's top trade post. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Farmers across Central Illinois are at various points in their planting process.

(Watseka-jm) – A Hoopeston man is dead after he suffered a medical incident at the Iroquois County Jail. It happened Wednesday night after he was picked up by deputies during a traffic stop. The man was wanted on an outstanding Newton County, Indiana warrant for failure to appear on charges of aggravated battery to a public official. While at the Iroquois County Jail, he suffered a medical incident. Deputies and Correctional Officers attempted life saving measures and the subject was transported to the Iroquois Memorial Hospital by Riverside EMS. The man was later pronounced dead at Iroquois Memorial Hospital. Illinois State Police are investigating the incident.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is confirming that state coverage of abortions for low income women will continue in Illinois. Illinois is one of only 16 states that provides Medicaid coverage for abortion care. This is a part of state law and will be vigorously defended, says the Governor. He had this to say about reproductive rights…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is advising managed care companies that help administer Medicaid about the law and that they may be getting questions about coverage.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County is offering households impacted by COVID-19 assistance with paying water bills to avoid shutoffs and restore service. The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission’s assistance program consists of a one-time payment to be used toward water/wastewater services. To be eligible for assistance, households must have an income that does not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Households that were already disconnected or are facing imminent disconnection must also have a balance of $250 or more on their water bills to be eligible.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A man was sentenced to prison, nearly a year after he was accused of hitting a woman with his car. Stephen Booker was found guilty of resisting a peace officer. He was sentenced to two years in prison with credit for 331 days that he has previously served. On June 14, 2021, Champaign Police were called to a location on Paula Drive in response to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle. When officers arrived at the scene, they learned that a man allegedly left the roadway on purpose in an attempt to strike two women. They said one woman was able to get out of the way but the other was hit. Officers also said after crashing the vehicle, the suspect returned to the scene and began battering the injured woman who was lying on the ground.

 

(Ford-Iroquois-tr) – Farmers across Central Illinois are at various points in their planting process. Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece hopes the warm weather will allow some crops, that were planted early, to emerge…

 

 

 Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Kentland, Indiana-jm) – Indiana State police say a 36-year-old man has been shot and wounded by officers after escaping from a jail transport van in western Indiana and later firing shots from an apartment he ran into. Police said Jayme Lopez of Gary fled about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday after arriving at the Newton County Jail in Kentland from the Iroquois County Jail in Watseka. Troopers located Lopez about 1 p.m. at an apartment building in Kentland. A sheriff’s tactical unit was called in and began negotiations. A short time later, shots were fired from the apartment. A tactical unit officer returned fire, striking Lopez who then surrendered. Lopez was being treated at a hospital.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Undergraduate Library on the University of Illinois campus will extend its farewell by one additional day to give people one last chance to enter the facility. The upper level of the UGL will be open on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. to allow people to visit on graduation weekend. No services will be provided during those hours and the facility will close for the final time at 4 p.m.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are the indications about corn and soybean production and yield for the 2022-2023 marketing year - USDA's first such forecasts for the year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Republicans continue to question spending in the new state budget. The GOP criticizes the increased spending planned for the new fiscal year, saying the budget relies too heavily on one-time federal COVID-19 relief money to fund projects in Democratic districts. Representative Tom Demmer of Dixon…

 

 

State Representative Tom Demmer of Dixon. Republicans say they were left out of final budget negotiations and that the necessity of these projects was never vetted properly.

 

(Urbana-jm) – It’s graduation weekend for the University of Illinois. The Class of 2022 will walk the stage at Memorial Stadium Saturday. Jill Ellis, former coach of the U-S Women’s National Soccer Team and U of I women’s first soccer coach will be the Commencement speaker.

 

(Urbana-jm) –  A team of researchers from the University of Illinois were among those who contributed to the latest discovery that has the astronomical world buzzing: a photograph of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomers had long known that something was at the center of the Milky Way after watching stars orbit an invisible, compact and very massive object. They suspected the object was a black hole, and this new image provides the first direct visual evidence. The image was captured in 2017 by the Event Horizon’s Telescope, a network of telescopes around the world.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is part of a program known as the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The program  offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Ford County Public Health Department Communicable Disease Nurse Kristen Buhs details the program… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Communicable Disease Nurse Kristen Buhs. For more information, call the health department at 217-379-9281 or online at fordcountyP.H.D..org.

 

 

(Danville-jm) – Remains have been found inside of a car in Lake Vermilion.

That is according to the Chaos Dive Team’s Facebook page. The owner of the car, Abbie Brandenburg, has been missing since May 5. Her car was pulled out of the lake on Wednesday evening. Her Red Ford Edge was last seen on a traffic camera. It was going over the Denmark Road bridge above the lake. The Dive Team is still waiting for DNA confirmation.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police were dispatched at approximately 8:40 p.m. Wednesday night after reports of a shooting near the corner of Prospect Avenue and Bloomington Road. Upon arrival, officers discovered that occupants of two vehicles exchanged gunfire on a private property before leaving the scene. Officers found shell casings at the scene, however, there were no injuries reported in the incident. There was also minor damage to a nearby business.

 

(Washington-jm) – The wheat markets reacted in a big way to USDA's new forecast for U.S. winter wheat production. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Gibson City townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow.

 

Gilman townwide garage sales will take place today through Sunday.

 

Clove Alliance will host a sexual harassment prevention training today from 12-1 at Kankakee Community College.

 

The Loda American Legion will host their fish and chicken fry tonight from 4-7 pm. Cost is $10 for adults, kids 7-15 are $5.

 

The Iroquois West FFA Chapter is hosting their petting zoo on Saturday from 9-12 at the high school north parking lot in Gilman.

 

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

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Pink Heels on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The BTCGM Local 325G is having their annual fish and chicken fry for current and retired members on Saturday at the Amvets in Elliott from 11-5.

 

President Joe Biden visits a Kankakee family farm to discuss challenges farmers are facing

(Undated-jm) – Temperatures are warming up, but starting in June Ameren electricity customers will now have to pay more to keep the lights on and their homes cooled. A $580 a year price hike will lead some Ameren customers to conserve energy to offset costs. Customers can expect to pay around $48 more every month on the supply side of their bill. The power company said they're not the ones who set supply prices and they won't be profiting from it either.

 

(Kankakee County-jm) – A few state lawmakers were on hand for President Biden’s visit to a Kankakee family farm. The President discussed the challenges farmers are facing, gas prices and the war in Ukraine. Senator Patrick Joyce of Essex attended the event and was pleased to hear the Biden Administration is looking to extend crop insurance to help out farmers opting for double cropping…

 

 

State Senator Patrick Joyce of Essex. Double cropping is where farmers plant two crops in a year on the same land, but it can be risky because of weather and other factors.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Firefighters in Champaign responded to a hazardous materials incident after the intense heat caused several containers containing aluminum powder to overheat. Crews were called to 3200 Farber Drive at 12:41 p.m. When they arrived, they found three 55-gallon drums being stored outside. The drums contained water and an aluminum powder; the heat caused the water’s temperature to rise and the aluminum started to react as a result. The heat from this reaction raised the water’s temperature further to the point that it started to boil. Firefighters deployed a single, unmanned hose line to cool the drums and prevent the aluminum from being released. The incident did not pose a threat to the environment or the surrounding community and no evacuation was carried out.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said he was recently scammed out of nearly $3,000. According to officers, the student received a phone call from a number, which appeared to originate from a local police department. The caller said the student was wanted on warrants and needed to pay the caller to avoid arrest. The student complied with instructions to visit a local retail store, purchase gift cards and give the gift card information to the caller.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The Rantoul Exchange Club will be putting up flags in honor of Memorial Day. Past President of the Rantoul Exchange Club Janet Brotherton says if you're considering sponsorship, a key date to remember is May 16th…

 

 

Past President of the Rantoul Exchange Club Janet Brotherton.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $182 million for wastewater and drinking water projects around the state. Local communities receiving a portion of those funds include Cissna Park, Milford and Potomac. Cissna Park will receive $414,000 to replace water mains. Milford will receive $560,000 to replace a water line under Sugar Creek and install new hydrants. Potomac will receive $369,000 to replace 301 water meters. 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA analysts are brainstorming right now, trying to forecast yield, production, exports and prices for the crops that are just now being planted. It's a hard job due to so many uncertainties. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) –  Illinois residents continue to feel the pain at the pump. The average gasoline price in the state is up 19.4 cents per gallon in the last week, according to GasBuddy. The average cost is approximately $4.60 per gallon. Compared to a month ago, prices are 23.3 centers per gallon higher. The price of a gallon of gas is $1.46 higher than at this time last year. The national average price of gasoline has risen 13.6 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $4.31 per gallon

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is urging Congress to act quickly to protect women’s reproductive rights. Illinois has done its part to make sure women can choose health care options for themselves and now federal lawmakers must do the same, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor made his remarks at a planned parenthood clinic in the metro east area, where 75 percent of patients seeking care are from out of state.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration announced that the Champaign Park District is a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Champaign Park District has been awarded the gold medal award three times in the past in 1979,1990 and 1998.

 

(Watseka-jm) – County Treasurer, Kurt Albers, has announced that the 2021 payable 2022 real estate tax statements have been mailed to the taxpayers of Iroquois County. The first installment is due June 9th and the second installment is due September 9th

 

(Springfield-jm) – A few state lawmakers were on hand for President Biden’s visit to a Kankakee family farm. During the visit the President discussed some of his plans to help farmers including doubling funding for domestic fertilizer production. Area Representative Jackie Haas says she’s pleased President Biden made the trip…

 

 

State Representative Jackie Haas. The Biden Administration is also looking to increase crop insurance for double cropping and to provide more technical support and nutrient management to farmers.

 

(St. Joe-tr) – A tribute to two community members of St. Joe will take place this weekend. St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling shares who will be honored and when…

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling

 

(Undated-jm) – Metro unemployment numbers fell in March 2022 compared to the same time last year. In Champaign County, the rate fell from 5.3 percent to 3.8 percent. In Ford County, the rate fell from 5.1 percent to 4.1 percent. Iroquois County fell from 5.8 percent to 4.9 percent. Vermilion County’s fell from 7.3 percent to 5.6 percent.

 

(Washington-jm) – During a visit to an Illinois farm President Biden announced some actions to help producers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of bills to assist crime victims and address the root causes of violence

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of bills to assist crime victims and address the root causes of violence. One new law creates a co-responder pilot program in Peoria, Springfield, East St. Louis and Waukegan where police officers will be able to bring mental health professionals on calls to help assess the situation…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says the other bills fund efforts to retain police officers and the funeral expenses of children killed by gun violence.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois State Police say processing for Firearm Owners Identification cards now takes less than a month. State Police have also opened a fourth FOID kiosk in the state, this one down in Collinsville.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Four brave souls were honored at the annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony in Springfield Tuesday. Public officials, families and firefighters from across Illinois gathered on the state Capitol lawn to remember those who died in the line of duty last year. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke to the loved ones of the fallen firefighters….

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The firefighters honored include Michael Pickering and Mashawn Plummer of the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Garrett Ramos with the Sterling Fire Department and Wabash Fire Protection District Firefighter Mehdi Mourad.

 

(Springfield-jm) – COVID-19 cases are rising across Illinois, sparking a warning from health officials who say a fifth wave could be underway. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, after a decline in coronavirus cases a week earlier, numbers have picked up pace again in Illinois. As of Monday, the state was seeing an average of 5,154 new cases per day over the past seven days. That represents an increase of 41.6% in the last week.

 

(Springfield-jm) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month and help is available for farmers who are struggling. Whether it be stress over planting delays or uncertainties about the global market, farmers may be having a tough time right now. But Karen Stallman with the Farm Family Resource Initiative says a hotline is available for farmers to reach out 24-7…

 

 

Farm Family Resource Initiative’s Karen Stallman. The call is anonymous and resources will be offered for further assistance. Farmers, their spouses or kids having mental health concerns can call or text the hotline at: 1-833-FARM-SOS.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Inmates at the downtown Urbana jail are expected to be transferred by the end of the week at the earliest. The Champaign County Sheriff's Office said the move comes after a lack of corrections officers between the two jails in the county. Between the downtown and satellite jails, there are 11 openings for corrections officers and two openings for sergeant. The shortage is forcing the downtown jail to shut down permanently, with the new satellite expansion project to break ground next year. The county is planning to have between 100-140 inmates be boarded outside of the county due to the closure. The cost of boarding in another county is $60 per inmate, per day.

 

(Washington-jm) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging lawmakers not to forget the thousands of farm families who are in dire financial trouble. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a package of bills to assist crime victims and address the root causes of violence. One new law will fund efforts to retain police officers and pay for funeral expenses when a child is a victim of gun violence. Another pumps money into a crime witness protection program, says Peoria Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth…

 

 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth. Additionally, a co-responder pilot program will launch in four cities: Waukegan, Peoria, Springfield and East St. Louis, partnering police with social workers on calls to help assess potential mental health needs.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As Justice Rita B. Garman has announced her retirement from the Illinois Supreme Court, her replacement will become the first Black woman to serve in the role.  Garman's retirement is effective July 7, 2022. Justice Garman has served on the Supreme Court since 2001. She is the longest serving judge in the state. She served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 2013 to 2016. The Supreme Court has constitutional authority to fill interim judicial vacancies and has appointed Fourth District Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White, to fill Justice Garman’s seat.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new state law will ensure public high school students aren’t negatively affected by any outstanding fees. The bill was sponsored by Representative Joyce Mason of Gurnee, who says students shouldn’t be denied their grades, transcripts or diplomas…

 

 

State Representative Joyce Mason of Gurnee. Previously, diplomas and transcripts could be held as punishment for not paying up. The new law takes effect immediately.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker aims to put a dent into a school bus driver shortage that’s impacting Illinois and the nation. The measure would allow drivers with suspended licenses, due to failure to pay child support the last three years, apply for a bus driver’s license permit. According to a survey by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, about 77% of respondents in the Midwest said they’ve had to alter bus services because of a driver shortage.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is offering a new training program to attract more potential troopers. The lateral entry training program is designed for local law enforcement looking to become a state police trooper. Cadets will spend time at the academy in Springfield, but also complete some of the training at home says State Police Director Brendan Kelly…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Additionally, a new state law lowers the retirement age for troopers from 60 to 55.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County market area home sales fell in March as tightened supply moderated demand amid rising mortgage rates, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. Home sales decreased in March by 26 percent to 201 units sold over 275 sales in the same month in March of 2021. The average home sale price rose 6.98 percent in March to $210,420 from $196,696 in March a year ago. The median home sale price for the Champaign County area was $164,900, down slightly by 1.85 percent from $168,000 in March 2021. 


(Ford-Iroquois - tr) – On a local level, many farmers have started planting in one way or another. Some farmers have already completed planting one type of crop and are moving onto the next, while some have not even started planting yet wth many farmers in between. Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece has more… 

 

 

Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece 

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul wants all federal student loan debt canceled

(Springfield-jm) –  Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul wants all federal student loan debt canceled. Raoul announced he's joining a multistate coalition of eight attorneys general urging President Joe Biden to fully cancel the loan debt. More than $1.7 trillion is owed to the federal government by student borrowers. The attorneys general say canceling the debt is necessary to address the sheer enormity of debts owed, systematically flawed repayment and forgiveness systems and the disproportionate impact of the debt burden on millions of borrowers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers continue to fall further behind in planting as we hear in the weekly crop report. On average, less than two days were suitable for fieldwork this past week says Crop Statistician Steve Parn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Just 11 percent of soybeans have been planted compared to 55 percent at this time last year. 19 percent of winter wheat has headed and 45 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent short, 49 percent adequate and 50 percent surplus.

 

(Clarksville, Tennessee-jm) – The man who escaped from an Illinois State Police hospital transport van last week was found in Tennessee over the weekend. 47-year-old Javier Aguirre of Hoopeston escaped from the van last Wednesday while it was traveling on Interstate 39 through Minonk. Reporting that Aguirre posed a danger to himself and others, Woodford County officials and Illinois State Troopers launched a search, but were unable to find him. The Woodford County State’s Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest the following day after investigating reports of criminal damage to property during his escape. On Sunday evening, officers in Clarksville, Tenn. located Aguirre and took him into custody without incident.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois has announced its new Director of McKinley Health Center. Pending approval from the University Board of Trustees, Awais Vaid will take over the position from Dr. Robert Parker, who served for four-and-a-half years. Vaid has been with the Champaign Urbana Public Health District for 18 years.

 

(Washington-jm) – Traders and producers will be paying a lot of attention to a major USDA supply and demand report that's coming out later this week. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Loda-jm) – A 22-year-old Loda man pleaded not guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with a January shooting in Loda. Colton M. Johnson appeared in Iroquois County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing. After being arraigned by Judge Michael Sabol, Johnson pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. Sabol set another pretrial hearing for 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 27, and set a 21-day discovery deadline for the prosecution and 45-day discovery deadline for the defense, court records show. In January, Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine filed one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony, against Johnson, alleging that he intentionally discharged a firearm in the direction of Dylan W. Atkins on the morning of January 19. The shooting left the 19-year-old Atkins hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Johnson, who was indicted by an Iroquois County grand jury in March, has been released from the county jail in Watseka after posting 10 percent of his $25,000 bond. 

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The village of Mahomet has rejected bids for new tennis and pickleball courts. The village was looking to install 6 new tennis courts at Middletown Park however bids came in at between $780,00 and $884,000 and didn’t include lighting.

 

(Undated-jm) – Rantoul village leaders will consider a referendum on a cannabis dispensary license at tonight’s village board meeting at 6. In addition, trustees will consider bonds for the Evans Road project, and consider a preliminary design for the wastewater system project. Up I-57 in Paxton at 7, city leaders will consider adding stop signs along Orleans Street at High Street and Winter Street surrounding Pells Park and consider motor fuel tax work. Down in St. Joseph tonight at 7, village leaders there will consider an outdoor cafe ordinance, and consider an appraisal of the village building.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Over $4 million in relief has been secured for Illinois residents deceived into paying for free tax services, per the state's attorney general.  Kwame Raoul said the funding is part of $141 million in restitution Intuit Inc., the owner of tax filing platform TurboTax, has been ordered to pay. This money is part of a bipartisan agreement between every U.S. state and Intuit.  The victims include over 130,000 Illinoisans, Raoul said. In the agreement, Intuit has to end its "free, free, free" ad campaign that lured customers with free tax preparation services before misleading them into paying.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers continue to fall further behind in planting as we hear in the weekly crop report. Just 15 percent of corn has been planted, compared to 71 percent at this time last year. Soybean planting is slow as well, says Crop Statistician Steve Parn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Pastures are rated at 68 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at one percent short, 49 percent adequate and 50 percent surplus.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Danville’s NAACP is traveling to the northern and southern parts of the County and to Danville to host three more Wellness Fairs and Cookouts to beat Covid. The first of the NAACP’s Fairs will be held in Hoopeston 426 E. Honeywell Avenue on Wednesday, May 11. A day later, the team of NAACP healthcare practitioners will go to Antioch Baptist Church 311 Collet Street in Danville. Then on Wednesday, May 18, they’ll host a fair and vaccination clinic in Georgetown at 407 E. Kennedy Drive. All three Fairs will be held, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., free of charge, and with no reservation required.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On May 2nd, Donald Peacock was arrested for driving while license revoked. On May 6th, Steven Campbell was arrested for aggravated stalking and violating an order of protection. On May 8th, Emma Cavallo and Victoria Bauman was arrested for driving with a suspended registration.

 

(Washington-jm) – The U.S. is boosting its purchases of foreign food and agriculture products by quite a bit. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – This week, Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a theft and credit card fraud that happened on April 24. According to Champaign Police, at around 11 a.m. on April 24, a theft occurred at Home Goods, located at 718 Town Center Boulevard in Champaign. Officers said an unknown offender stole the victim’s wallet from her purse while it was unattended in a shopping cart. 45 minutes after the incident happened, one of the victim’s credit cards was used at the Urbana Walmart with purchases totaling just under $2,300. A second purchase was attempted for $2,900. The first man was wearing a navy sweatshirt with medium-colored jeans and the other man was wearing a camouflage sweatshirt with light-colored jeans. These two left in what appeared to be a black Ford Explorer, officers added.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Semester exams could be a thing of the past for PBL High school students. The school board will hear a proposal that would make semester exams optional. The proposal would also lower the percent the exam could count towards a students overall grade from 20 percent to 10 percent. The change would not affect AP or dual credit courses.




 

The new official Illinois highway map is now available

(Ogden-jm) – A Champaign woman is dead following a single vehicle accident on I-74 near Ogden. Illinois State Police say the accident happened just before 6 am Saturday morning. A vehicle, driven by 26 year old Jasmine Alexander-Jordan of Champaign, went off the road, struck a tree stump and rolled several times. Alexander-Jones was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene by the Champaign County coroner’s office. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The new official Illinois highway map is now available. While you may mostly use your smartphone for directions, paper maps can still be a good resource, says State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The new map includes QR codes you can scan with your phone to get information about travel conditions, Amtrak, state parks and more.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – The St. Joseph Ogden School District is changing graduation honors. The district is the latest in the area to drop the Valedictorian/Salutatorian designation in favor of the Latin Distinction.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County Health Department will be hosting a free electronic recycling collection event Saturday for Vermilion County residents. The event will take place in the north parking lot of Danville Area Community College on May 14 between 9 and 11 a.m. People are encouraged to bring broken, obsolete or unwanted TVs, computer monitors and other electronic items so they can be recycled. However, only a maximum of four TVs or monitors will be accepted per resident.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Over the past several years there have been several issues with the Department of Children and Family Services. Those issues continue as the Director has been hit with another contempt charge says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Bennett says Republicans have been calling on the director to resign.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Students in the Mahomet Seymour school district will not see an increase in their lunch fees. The district received a recommendation to raise fees ten cents to 25 cents more. However, school board members voted 4-3 to not raise the fees and absorb the cost instead.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. agricultural exports are still going strong, still on their way to a record level.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The former site of the Myna Thompson School in Rantoul could be sold tonight. The Rantoul Township High School board will vote at 6 tonight to purchase the site as well as discuss a modified open campus for the 2022-2023 school year. Gibson City leaders will discuss a new storm tile at Falcon Point and consider an engineering agreement for water plant filter upgrades at 7. Also tonight at 7, the Ford County Board is expected to consider a moratorium on solar projects in the county and consider a contract for tower lease space after the emergency communications tower at the courthouse had to be removed following inspection issues.

 

The City of Paxton will be flushing hydrants starting today.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – A former Hoopeston man found guilty of attacking his estranged wife in a home invasion was sentenced to 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Donald Langston was found guilty in March of home invasion and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Tulips fading? A horticulturist at the University of Illinois Extension is offering some advice about how to care for spring bulbs after they bloom. For the most part you should just leave the plant alone for awhile says the Extension’s Ken Johnson…

 

 

University of Illinois Extension Horticulturist Ken Johnson. For smaller bulbs like snowdrops, the leaves will die-back fairly quickly. Tulips and daffodils may take several weeks to turn yellow. Johnson says you can go ahead and remove the faded blooms so the plant looks a little nicer and to prevent seedpods from forming.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Unarmed community service officers will soon be helping with non-emergency incidents in the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign campus area. The University of Illinois Police Department is looking to hire people to fill the role to handle less serious calls.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County and ReStore is moving. The organization is purchasing the old ValuCheck space, located at 1914 Glenn Park Drive in Champaign. They say this purchase will help consolidate all operations under one roof. Habitat Champaign has been renting out separate spaces in Champaign and a warehouse in Urbana. Operations are expected to move in September with an October 1, 2022 grand re-opening of the restore. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The latest unemployment numbers are in and it shows some promising news for the area. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Changes could be coming to the Paxton Buckley Loda Junior High handbook when it comes to cell phones. The board will hear a proposal at the May meeting that would ban students from having their phones on them in class. The change would only affect junior high students and not high school students.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. agricultural export values continue to top last year's numbers, but what about actual export volumes? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

State government employees now have a few more years to take advantage of a pension buyout program

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office have announced that one person was killed in a crash on Lincoln Avenue Thursday morning. The crash happened on North Lincoln Avenue near the intersection with Squire Farm Road at 9:53 a.m. Officials said their investigation indicated that 27-year-old Jonathan Davis of Rantoul lost control of his GMC Yukon, which crossed into the southbound lane and was hit by an Illini FS tanker truck on the passenger side. Both vehicles crashed into the roadside ditch. Davis was extricated from the Yukon and was taken to the Emergency Department of Carle Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:50 a.m. Northrup said Davis died from the traumatic injuries he sustained in the crash. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday. Davis’ children were also in the Yukon at the time of the crash and were taken to Carle with minor injuries. The driver and only occupant of the tanker, a 60-year-old man, was also taken to Carle with minor injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State government employees now have a few more years to take advantage of a pension buyout program. Governor J-B Pritzker signed a new law extending the current buyout plan through June 2026. Senator Doris Turner of Springfield says this saves the state money and gives workers a lump sum option…

 

 

State Senator Doris Turner of Springfield. The pension buyout is available to state employees, university workers and teachers. Over 45 hundred people have already selected this option.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Chicago announced a bid to bring the Democratic National Convention that will choose the party's presidential nominee to the city in 2024. The announcement was accompanied by endorsements from top Illinois Democrats, including Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

 

(Springfield-jm) – 11 men and women were honored Thursday during the annual Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield. Those killed in the line of duty last year include Chicago Police Department Officer Ella French, Officer Tyler Timmins with the Pontoon Beach Police Department and Champaign Police Officer Christopher Oberheim. Secretary of State Jesse White spoke at the ceremony…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. The names of fallen officers in Illinois are etched on the official memorial on the state capitol lawn.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The workers union representing service workers at the University of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the university’s Board of Trustees, alleging members’ constitutional rights have been violated. Representatives of Service Employees International Union Local 73 said that three U of I employees were denied requests to speak during a Board meeting by Board Secretary Greg Knott. In an email to these employees, Knott said their requests were denied because they were speaking to issues under negotiation as part of the university’s collective bargaining process. The filing of this lawsuit is the latest development in the union’s attempts to reach an agreement with the university regarding a new labor contract. The current contract expires in August and so far, negotiations have made little progress. The union is currently voting whether or not to authorize a strike. Union leaders said the vote will wrap up this weekend, with the results being announced early next week; they believe a strike will be authorized.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Fire Chief Chuck Lauss announced his retirement nearly two months ago. On Thursday, he was celebrated and congratulated with a proper walk-out ceremony. Demond Dade will be taking over as chief.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The PBL school district has a few major projects coming up this summer, more specifically, in the High School building. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says many more electrical outlets are needed… 

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The Village of Rantoul is adjusting traffic flows this weekend around the Rantoul Family Sports Complex in anticipation of increased crowds and vehicle traffic. Beginning early Saturday and Sunday mornings, barricades will be placed to limit traffic along South Murray Road between Stone Bridge Drive and County Road 2900 N. General traffic will be redirected onto Stone Bridge and CR 2900 N while Murray will be limited to only those who are attending events at the sports complex. As the area clears Saturday and Sunday evenings, the barricades will be removed and Murray will reopen for general use overnight.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Community College Board is announcing a new grant that will bolster a program for African American students. The more than 745 thousand dollar grant from the Lumina Foundation enhances the current workforce equity initiative. Board Deputy Director Jennifer Foster says the program provides black and brown students with support services, training and certificates so they can pursue jobs in high demand areas…

 

 

Illinois Community College Board Deputy Director Jennifer Foster. The initiative has already enrolled more than five thousand students. You can learn more at illinois wei dot org.

 

(Springfield-jm) –  Illinois has now seen its fifth credit upgrade in less than a year, state officials announced.  On Thursday, the state earned a two-notch bond rating upgrade from Fitch Ratings. Fitch noted "fundamental improvements in Illinois' fiscal resilience."  It's the first upgrade for Illinois from Fitch in over 20 years. It followed Moody's Investors Service, which gave the state an upgrade in April. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – 11 men and women were honored Thursday during the annual Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield. Prayers were read, bagpipes played and state officials spoke. That includes Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, whose brother is a Chicago Police Detective…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Among those honored are Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic with the Bradley Police Department, Illinois State Police Senior Master Trooper Todd Hanneken and Wayne County Deputy Sheriff Sean Riley.

 

(Woodford County-jm) – Illinois State Police are searching for a Hoopeston man they say escaped a hospital transport van. It happened around 11:21 p.m. Wednesday in Woodford County. ISP says 47-year-old Javier Aquirre escaped the van on Interstate 39 near milepost 39. A search for Aguirre using K9 units and air operations was unsuccessful.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is looking for information regarding two people who went missing on the same day. One of the missing individuals is a 19-year-old woman named Ricriana Allenia Tyler. Tyler has not been seen by or had any contact with friends or family since March 22, 2022. She is described as having black hair and brown eyes. Tyler is approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. Also missing is 16-year-old Adrian Parker Deck. He was last seen on March 22, 2022. Deck is described as having blue eyes and brown hair. He is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and 155 pounds. He was last seen wearing green pants and a black hoodie with "Juice WRLD" on it. Anyone with information regarding either of the missing teens is encouraged to contact the Champaign Police Department at 217-351-4545.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – The GCMS Highschool FFA program is currently preparing for their annual scholarship auction Saturday. GCMS FFA Vice President Payton Lenard gives a run down of how the day will unfold…

 

 

GCMS FFA Vice President Payton Lenard

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board has a new member. Brittney Gehrt replaces Shawn Young who stepped down after 17 years on the board. Gehrt, a 2009 graduate, will fill the remainder of Young’s term which is up in April 2023.

 

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

 

The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley FFA Chapter will host their annual auction on Saturday. For more information contact Jeff Reale by email at reale dot jeff at gcmsk12 dot org.

 

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

 

Two area lawmakers will be hosting a town hall next week to discuss the Pontiac Correctional Center

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police said that one person was hurt in a shooting that happened Wednesday morning. Officers were dispatched to the area of McKinley and Beardsley avenues at 11:30 a.m. for a report of shots being fired. They found multiple shell casings at the scene and found a car had also been hit. Shortly after, a man arrived at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the torso. He is expected to survive. The preliminary investigation indicated that two people were walking on McKinley when they were shot at by someone in a car driving down Beardsley. The driver of that car got out and was picked up by another car, which left the scene.

 

(Springfield-jm) – May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is encouraging more families to sign up. Foster parents help provide a stable home to children in trouble, but more are always needed, says DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez…

 

 

DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. Lopez says becoming a foster parent is a serious commitment and the process can take up to six months. Those approved receive support including a monthly stipend for a child’s basic needs. Visit the DCFS website for further details.

 

(UI Campus-jm) – Ameren and Champaign firefighters got a call Wednesday in response to a report of a possible gas leak. Ameren employees went to the reported location and discovered gas in the Ice Arena. They said it seemed to be from an underground gas leak from the south of the building. The cause of the gas leak is unknown.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul village leaders will continue discussions next week on whether to allow a public referendum on lifting a ban on marijuana dispensaries. The village placed a ban on dispensary licenses three years ago and discussed the issue at this week's study session. However, they were unable to reach a decision with a split vote 3-3. The Rantoul village board will meet Tuesday night at 6 pm.

 

(Pontiac-jm) – Two area lawmakers will be hosting a town hall next week to discuss the Pontiac Correctional Center. The town hall on Tuesday will feature Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington and State Representative Tom Bennett. Bennett says they are looking for some answers…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. The town hall will take place at 6:30 pm at Pontiac High School.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School Board approved a nearly $619,000 bid to construct a new maintenance shed. The 60 by 100 foot shed replaces the previous building that was damaged by the August flood. Work is expected to be completed by mid-December.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton’s electric aggregation program is on hold. Homefield Energy, the company contracted by the city for aggregation, sent a letter to the city saying Ameren Illinois’ rate is cheaper than theirs.

 

(Onarga–jc)  – Several area fire departments were called to a barn fire in rural Iroquois County early this morning. The barn was located at 13-25 East 12-hundred north in rural Onarga. No other details are available at this time

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Arson Awareness Week. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is trying to raise awareness about the cost of arson and the toll it takes on communities. Spokesperson J-C Fultz says everyone needs to do their part…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. The Illinois Fire Marshal’s Office offers some tips for helping reduce the risk of arson including keeping the doors and windows of unoccupied buildings locked and boarding up abandoned buildings. Fultz says you should also lock up any flammable liquids.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety and local school districts are hosting Progressive Agriculture Safety Days to teach more than 600 students about health and safety skills. The educational events will offer age-appropriate information to make sure even the youngest people understand how to be safe around farms and farm equipment. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign leaders have approved hiring a security firm to help police with patrols as law enforcement deals with staffing issues. Police leaders have said they need temporary help to be sure the city is safe. With the approved contract, AGB Investigative Services will send trained security guards to patrol the downtown part of Champaign on weekends and during special events.  There will be four guards and one supervisor present on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights downtown. To address council concerns about transparency, the AGB officers will be required to have on body cameras. They will not be armed with a firearm, stun gun or pepper spray. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois primary is set for June 28th with the midterm elections in November. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington expects four main topics on the minds of voters…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – The village of St. Joseph will dedicate streets in honor of two village residents. The village board approved naming streets in honor of former mayor BJ Hackler and U of I Police Lieutenant Aaron Landers. The dedications will take place on May 14th.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The Rantoul City School board has a new member. Katherine Johnson was sworn in as the newest member. Johnson is a 2006 graduate of the district.

Governor J-B Pritzker says despite the reported Supreme Court opinion on Roe v Wade, abortions will remain legal in Illinois

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a car versus semi accident on I-57 Tuesday night. Crews were called to the accident on I-57 northbound about 2 and a half miles north of Paxton just before 10 pm. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says despite the reported Supreme Court opinion on Roe v Wade, abortions will remain legal in Illinois. The Governor signed a law a few years ago in anticipation of such a move, establishing a fundamental right to reproductive healthcare. That includes abortions…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says Illinois will continue to be open to women from other states seeking an abortion. According to the most recent data in 2019, more than 75 hundred out of state residents traveled to Illinois for the procedure.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended the COVID-19 disaster in Illinois for another 30 days. He said the virus continues to infect and claim the lives of too many Illinoisans each day. In the latest proclamation, Pritzker said the situation remains fluid as a new omicron variant has caused surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in other parts of the world and is now leading to an increase in cases in Illinois.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – The GCMS Highschool FFA program is currently preparing for their annual scholarship auction May 7th. GCMS FFA President Xander Weir (We’re) details a few key items featured on this year's auction… 

 

 

GCMS FFA President Xander Weir.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton business is receiving some money from the city as part of a redevelopment agreement. Ruby Jewel will receive $25,000 from the city for facade improvements.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Mahomet Seymour school board rejected bids to renovate the matroom in the junior high and instead opted to approve portable classrooms. The district budgeted $200,000 to renovate the matroom into 5 spaces, 2 classrooms and 2 offices. However the bids came in over budget and had a 19 week timeline. The district will spend $83,500 to set up the portable classrooms then pay $65,000 over 3 years for the portable classrooms.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Republican lawmakers continue to be critical of the historic $45 billion state budget passed during the spring session. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says it does little to solve the state’s issues and may create problems in the future…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to prison and probation for sexual assault. Joshua Jacobs was sentenced to 75 days in prison and 4 years probation after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse back in December 2019.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Willie Nelson is coming to perform at the Illinois State Fair. Willie Nelson & Family will headline the Illinois Lottery Grandstand on Tuesday, August 16. Tickets go on sale May 7.

 

(Springfield-jm) – One state lawmaker says more can be done to ensure Illinois is a safe haven for reproductive rights. While abortions will continue to be legal in Illinois regardless of the potential overturning of Roe v Wade, Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago says additional legislation may prove beneficial. That includes a measure passed by the House this spring but still awaits a vote in the Senate…

 

 

State Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago. Cassidy says the state can also offer more resources to out of state women looking to get a legal abortion in Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governors from eight Midwest states, including Illinois, asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a permanent waiver that will allow each state to continue selling ethanol-blended gas year-round without restriction. The EPA's decision to suspend restrictions of summer sales of the lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 gasoline is temporary and only applies to the 2022 summer driving season. E15 is usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 because of concerns that it adds to smog in high temperatures.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department is offering support to local caregivers. FCPHD Caregiver Advisor Becky Beck says that family caregivers serve as a critical component to the life and well being of older adults… 

 

 

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.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Three people were sent to the hospital after a DUI crash, on Saturday. According to police on April 30, officers investigated a two-vehicle accident in the 700 block of W. Seminary in Onarga. Police reports indicate a vehicle driven by Ernesto A. Espinoza, 24, of Thawville was traveling westbound on W. Seminary when he began to veer into the eastbound lane of traffic and collided with an eastbound traveler. Authorities say Nicholas Munoz, 29, of Onarga was the eastbound traveler and he and an additional passenger were transported to Riverside Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries sustained from the crash. Espinoza was transported to St. Mary's Hospital, also with non-life-threatening injuries. Police say Espinoza showed signs of alcohol impairment and charged him for driving under the influence and for driving on the wrong side of the roadway. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Carle will be offering a pop-up booster community clinic at both the Carle Champaign on Curtis clinic and the Carle Urbana on Windsor clinic the first two weekends in May.  Anyone who is eligible for a first or second dose COVID-19 booster can schedule time at either clinic location Saturday, May 7 and the weekend of May 14-15. Community members can schedule their booster appointment by calling the Carle COVID-19 hotline, (217) 902-6100.

Governor J-B Pritzker announced the launch of $113 million in funding for community organizations working on violence prevention

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker announced the launch of $113 million in funding for community organizations working on violence prevention. The funding builds on $73 million already distributed by the Illinois  Department of Human Services to organizations in FY22 and an additional $71.8 million in the pipeline, with grant agreements expected to be finalized before the summer. The administration is also launching a statewide series of community roundtables. Community conversations will take place in Rockford, Champaign, Peoria, and East St. Louis with local community advisors, faith-based leaders, and elected officials. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – April is wrapping up as colder than normal in Illinois. Final numbers aren’t in yet but it's certainly been a chilly April says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. As for rainfall, Ford says northern and southern Illinois has received about an inch above normal so far this month, while central Illinois precipitation has been average.

 

(Urbana-jm) –  This week, Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding an attempted robbery that happened on April 20. At around 11:35 p.m., police officers were dispatched to the B-Spirits Gas Station on West Main Street in response to a report of an attempted robbery. When officers arrived at the scene, they learned that a man had gone behind the counter and demanded the clerk open the cash register. The offender left the store when the clerk refused to do so. Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the subject captured on video. The suspect appeared to be a man wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt, black pants, red bandana and camo backpack.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Crews in Champaign have begun installation of Automated License Plate Reader cameras for use by the Champaign Police Department.

The City Council approved the use of the cameras in December. 46 units will be installed throughout the community starting Monday to begin a two-year trial period. Champaign Police said the cameras will primarily focus on areas of the city that have experienced increased gun violence in recent years.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – The GCMS Highschool FFA program is currently preparing for their annual scholarship auction May 7th. GCMS FFA President Xander Weir (We’re) says the proceeds help the chapter throughout the year… 

 

 

GCMS FFA President Xander Weir.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton Buckley Loda school bus was involved in an accident Monday morning around 6:30. The district says no students were on the bus at the time however the driver was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

 

(Urbana-jm) – After several years of discussion, the Champaign County downtown jail in Urbana is set to close. The county has moved 100 inmates so far to the Kankakee County Jail. About 40 more need to be moved before it will be officially closed. The county is paying Kankakee County $60 per day per inmate. The county is working on a plan to expand the satellite jail in order to accommodate more inmates.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farmers got a little more time in the fields this past week. According to the latest crop report, about three days were suitable for fieldwork, although planting remains well behind schedule, says Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 12 percent of winter wheat has headed and 48 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. That’s an improvement over the previous week. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as two percent short, 58 percent adequate and 40 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) – With DCFS and Director Marc Smith under fire, Republicans have been calling for his resignation. Governor JB Pritzker responded to those criticisms pointing the finger right back at the GOP blaming the Rauner Administration for the 2 year budget impasse. Smith has been cited for contempt nine times in recent months for failing to find appropriate care for children in DCFS care. House Republican leader Jim Durkin blamed Pritzker for failing to deal with the problem, saying Smith should resign. Pritzker shot back pointing to Republicans have voted against recent budgets that have added funds to DCFS

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is backing the FDA’s proposal to ban menthol flavored cigarettes and cigars. Menthol is the last flavor that’s currently allowed in cigarettes and the FDA says banning it will help prevent people from picking up the habit and ultimately save lives. State Public Health Tobacco Control Program Director Gail Devito agrees…

 

 

State Public Health Tobacco Control Program Director Gail Devito. Devito says there is also an equity component, since teens, African Americans and members of the LGBTQ community are more likely to opt for the menthol variety.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana has a new fire chief and it's someone familiar with the community. Mayor Diane Marlin named Demond Dade chief after Chuck Lauss retired. Dade oversaw the department's EMS division prior to taking over the top spot.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The PBL school district board has continued to discuss keeping student fees the same as last year. PBL school Superintendent Cliff McClure says the board will vote on the issue this month… 

 

 

PBL school Superintendent Cliff McClure. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A vacant industrial building in Rantoul has been sold at auction. The Rantoul products building has sat vacant since 2014. The name of the person who bought it and the price will be released at a later date, however, the auction company says the person that bought it intends to bring it back to working order.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois will begin providing financial incentives for academic achievement for student athletes. Starting the 2022-2023 school year, student athletes could receive up to $5,980 for their grades. The move comes after a judge ruled the NCAA could not ban student athletes from being paid.

 

(Springfield-jm) – With three days suitable for fieldwork, seven percent of corn and five percent of soybeans have now been planted. That’s significantly less than is usually in the ground at this time of year. Crop Statistician Mark Shcleusener looks at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions improved to 69 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as two percent short, 58 percent adequate and 40 percent surplus.

 

Service workers at the University of Illinois are set to vote over the next week-and-a-half on whether to authorize a strike

(Philo-jm) – One person is dead following a crash near Philo Friday evening. Illinois State Police and Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 50 year old Shawn Cole of Penfield died after the car he was riding in collided head on with another vehicle on Route 130 near 700 north. Both drivers were taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing another rise in COVID-19 cases this week and stresses the importance of therapeutics for those who do get sick. There have been more than 24 thousand new infections reported since last Friday, an increase over the previous week. Governor J-B Pritzker says they are keeping a close eye on the numbers…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor continues to urge seniors to get their second booster shot and for those who haven’t been vaccinated to get their first dose. If you do test positive, it’s recommended that you call your doctor right away for one of the treatments that are available.

 

(Undated-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined 17 other states in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service challenging what they call a "flawed environmental analysis for its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Acquisition program." The Postal Service has the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, consisting of over 212,000 vehicles. The lawsuit alleges the Postal Service’s plans to replace 90% of this fleet with fossil-fuel-powered, internal combustion engine vehicles that fail to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act’s most basic requirements. Raoul's office said the Postal Service vehicles are on the road six days a week and emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases and other hazardous air pollutants. Proponents of the lawsuit call for the Postal Service to convert its fleet to zero-emission, electric vehicles.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State officials are urging homeowners still struggling due to the pandemic to apply for housing assistance. The Illinois Housing Assistance Fund offers grants of up to 30 thousand dollars to help those who have fallen behind on their mortgage or who are having other home-related financial problems, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. To see if you are eligible and to start the application process, visit: illinois housing help dot org. The deadline to apply is May 31st.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Service workers at the University of Illinois are set to vote over the next week-and-a-half on whether to authorize a strike. Hundreds of members of Service Employees International Union Local 73 signed a petition calling for the vote as negotiations between the UI Board of Trustees and the union bear little progress. The contract between the union and Board of Trustees is set to expire in August. If a strike were to occur, campus trash cans would not be emptied, bathrooms in university buildings would not be cleaned and food in dining halls would not be made.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – There’s one less mask mandate not just in Illinois but around the country. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A woman who admitted she was driving drunk in a 2021 crash that caused the death of a University of Illinois police lieutenant has been sentenced to ten years in prison.  Logan Freed of Champaign pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence in connection to the August 22 crash. This crash began a chain of events that led to the death of 50-year-old Aaron Landers of St. Joseph. At the time of the crash, Landers, who was a U of I police lieutenant, was on his motorcycle while riding southbound on Prospect Avenue at about 6:10 p.m. Authorities said he collided with a car that was struck by Freed's vehicle.

 

(Thomasboro-jm) – One person was taken to the hospital following a crash Saturday morning near Thomasboro. State police say a car traveling east on 2500 North failed to yield and struck a vehicle traveling northbound on Route 45. The driver of the northbound vehicle was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was cited for failure to yield.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says it’s great to see there may soon be a COVID-19 vaccine for young children. Moderna is seeking FDA approval for its COVID shot for kids six months to 5 years old. The Governor’s reaction…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says once a vaccine is approved for little ones the state will make sure it’s widely available. 73 percent of Illinoisans age five and up are now fully vaccinated.

 

(Springfield-jm) – In what’s become an annual rite of spring for Chief Executive’s Best & Worst States for Business survey of CEOs, Illinois landed near the bottom of the list. Based on polling of nearly 700 CEOs and business owners from every U.S. state, Illinois ranked 48th in the country. Texas placed No. 1 again, as it has every year since the Chief Executive began compiling the list in 2001. The author said the Lone Star state’s combination of a fast-growth population and a low-tax, low-regulation business climate is a proven catnip for companies.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department on Aging is warning seniors about a Medicare card scam that’s been recently circulating. Scammers have been calling seniors and asking if they have the new Medicare card, saying it’s a gold card or has a chip like a debit card. It’s just a ploy to get your personal information, says Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith. Con artists will then sell your info to be used to fraudulently purchase durable medical equipment like knee braces.

 

(Colfax-jm) – One tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service on Saturday evening in our area. The National Weather Service says the tornado was rated “EF-unknown” after emergency management reported no damage as they conducted a survey assessment after the storm. The tornado was reported by trained spotters 3 miles southwest of Colfax. 1 inch hail was also reported in Piper City.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state received some not so good news when it comes to property taxes. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) –  With their family members on hand to see it, three newly planted trees at Paxton’s Pells Park were dedicated on Arbor Day in memory of three men whose lives made a lasting impact on the town of Paxton and its residents. Mayor Bill Ingold dedicated the three trees, all planted earlier in the week on the park’s north side, in memory of Mr. Jim Kingston, who was the youngest person ever elected mayor of Paxton and served a record 28 years in the position; Dr. Russell Pitch, a longtime local dentist and firefighter; and Mr. Gary Popel, a longtime community volunteer and former fire chief.

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