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WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-07

Severe drought conditions continue across parts of the area

(Gibson City-jm) – Illinois Senators announced nearly $519,000 in funding for rural EMS agencies.  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth announced Thursday, $518,916 in funding for several rural fire and emergency medical services agencies in Illinois. The funding, which was created through Durbin’s Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs Act, will go toward supporting EMS agencies in training and recruiting staff, conducting certification courses, and purchasing equipment. Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services received the largest grant at $200,000.

 

(Loda-tr) – The Loda Truck and Tractor pull will take place Sunday with festivities to start on Saturday, with a parade and music that night. Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Denny Starkey shares who will be playing ont Saturday night… 

 

 

Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Denny Starkey. WPXN will be broadcasting live from Loda from 11am to noon with Becky Puetz, It’s summer fun tour stop 13.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police officials said a man was hurt after an overnight shooting Thursday. In a news release, officials said police were called around 1 a.m. in response to a shooting along West Maple Street. When they got there, they found a 65-year-old man who was shot in the arm. He was taken to the hospital for treatment. Officials said the man was sitting in his car along the street when shots were fired from a car driving east on Maple St. That car got away from the scene.

 

(Undated-jm) – Severe drought conditions continue across parts of the area. Parts of Champaign, Piatt and Vermilion Counties are in severe drought in the latest drought monitor released Thursday. Moderate drought remains for the rest of Champaign and Vermilion Counties and extends in the far southeastern part of Iroquois County. Ford and the rest of Iroquois County is either abnormally dry or not in a drought.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton business is reopening next month. Just Hamburgers will hold a grand re-opening on Saturday, August 6th at 11 am.

 

(Washington-jm) – The President's nominee as our nation's Chief Agricultural Negotiator had his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee Thursday.  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force met Thursday and covered a wide range of topics. Lawmakers and panelists discussed the ongoing problem of ghost guns and whether violence prevention programs are working. Scott Pulaski, a gun dealer and firearms instructor from Alton was asked what should be done to curb crime while preserving second amendment rights. He cited the need for education and enforcing current gun laws…

 

 

Gun dealer and firearms instructor Scott Pulaski of Alton. The group also discussed making state services for victims more accessible so that survivors don’t have to spend a lot of time seeking out assistance.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Five central Illinois counties are sharing grant money to improve technology and resources available for those who represent themselves in court. The 11th judicial circuit says Ford, Livingston, Woodford, Logan and McLean Counties will share almost $32,000.

 

(Ford/Iroquois-tr) – The Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau will be hosting a Farm Legacy Planning session to discuss how farm families can transfer their farms to the next generation. Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece details the event… 

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois system is planning to hire 300 new faculty over the next 3 years with 200 coming to the Urbana-Champaign campus. That total is in addition to filling vacancies from resignations and retirements. The goal is to improve the student to teacher ratio.

 

(Savoy-jm) – Willard Airport in Savoy will receive some upgrades but not until 2024. A one million dollar grant will help upgrade the security checkpoint area that airport officials say will help make it quicker to get through. Currently the airport averages about 400 travelers flying in and out daily.

 

(Rankin–jc)  The village of Rankin is celebrating its Sesquicentennial tonight and all day tomorrow. Current Rankin Mayor Aaron Warren remembers the circus going through town as a school kid…

 

 

Rankin Mayor Aaron Warren.

WPXN will be airing a 30 minute program at 10-30 tomorrow morning about the village and then broadcasting the parade live at 11 from Rankin. It’s part of our Summer Fun Tour 2022.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Residential homes in the Champaign County area sold quicker in June and the median and average home sale price continued to gain traction despite home sales slowing due to rising inflation and increased mortgage interest rates, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.  Home sales declined by 15.94 percent in June to 327 sales from 389 sales reported in June 2021.     The June median home sale price in the Champaign County area was $210,000 up 13.57 percent from $184,900 in June of 2021. The average home sale price was $251,604 in June up from $216,293 in June 2021. The average number of days on the market in June was 19 days as compared to 32 days in June last year.  Inventory of homes for sale as of July 19, 2022 stood at 901 properties on the market up from 848 properties listed for sale last month.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA has just announced new investments in rural broadband projects. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

The 2022 Champaign County Fair runs through tomorrow at the fairgrounds in Urbana. Tonight its dirt track racing at 6 and tomorrow from 1-4 there will be a touch a truck with the IPA tractor and semi pulls at 6.

 

The Ford County Public Health Department will hold a health and resource fair today from 2-5 pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City.

 

The 15th annual TopGun Largecar shootout will take place today through Sunday at the Rantoul National Aviation Center.

 

Rankin will hold its Sesquicentennial Celebration today and tomorrow. Tonight features dinner by the Lions Club and live music. Saturday features a parade at 11, opening of the time capsule at 12:30, bounce houses and talent show at 1, cake walk at 3 and live music from 4-11.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Prairie State Church Camp on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Rantoul Police Department will hold a stuff the squad school supply drive on Saturday from 10-2 at the Rantoul Walmart.

 

The 2022 Loda Good Ol Days will take place Saturday and Sunday.

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey says he will repeal the Criminal Justice Reform Act if he's elected governor

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey says he will repeal the Criminal Justice Reform Act if he's elected governor. The reform act, also known as the SAFE-T Act, went into effect last July when Governor JB Pritzer signed it into law. Among several changes, the act eliminates cash bail in the state.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says a second case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Champaign County. The first was detected on July 8, 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Mega Millions jackpot is now over one billion dollars. One lucky winner has the potential to join an elite club says Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Lorell Lynch…

 

 

Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Lorell Lynch. Only three jackpots over one billion dollars have ever been won in the US Mega Millions costs two bucks to play and you can add a megaplier for one additional dollar to boost any non jackpot winnings. The chance of hitting all six numbers and winning the jackpot with a single ticket is about one in 303 million.

 

(Urbana-jm) –  A street on the Urbana side of the University of Illinois campus will be closing for a few days later this week as crews dismantle a tower crane in front of Noyes (noise) Laboratory. South Mathew Avenue will close today between West Green Street and West Oregon Street to allow for the operation. The street will remain closed until 5 p.m. on Saturday. Access will be maintained to all properties located within the closure, but through traffic will not be allowed. The sidewalk will also be closed to pedestrians.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign City Council moved forward with a plan to bring new life to the downtown area. The council voted 9-0 to move forward with plans to construct a building at 47 East Main Street, with retail and housing space. A parking lot currently sits at that address. Work is expected to begin in a year and a half.

 

(Loda-tr) – The Loda Truck and Tractor pull will take place Sunday July 31st with festivities to start on Saturday, July 30th, with a parade and music that night. Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Denny Starkey says the tractor pull won’t start until after church is let out… 

 

 

Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Spokesperson Denny Starkey. Many unique food vendors will also be available during the pull on Sunday.  WPXN will be broadcasting live from Loda from 11am to noon with Becky Puetz, It’s summer fun tour stop 13.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man is facing 15 years in prison for allegedly sexually assaulting a teen brought to the area from Mexico. Miguel Nicolas-Domingo is charged with criminal sexual assault. Nicolas-Domingo is being held in the Kankakee County jail due to a federal immigration case.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 30 months probation after pleading guilty to selling cannabis and possessing a gun. Adrian Gonzalez pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number and possession with intent to deliver cannabis after police searched his home back in 2021. In exchange for his plea, charges of armed violence and possession of a controlled substance were dismissed.

 

(Urbana–jc)  Today is 4-H Day at the Champaign County Fair. A Kiddie Tractor Pull is planned for 3 this afternoon. The carnival opens at 5pm and its Monster Trucks tonight at 7. The Champaign County Fair runs through Saturday on the fair grounds in Urbana.

 

(Undated-jm) – Ameren Illinois is announcing a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that will provide $12 million in bill payment relief to 66,000 customers. Ameren officials said inflation and supply constraints led to an energy shortage. The increasing supply cost resulted in a significant rise in monthly bill amounts that officials said the company did not benefit from. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Officials with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said there are now two confirmed monkeypox cases in the county.

Earlier in July, the health department announced a “single presumptive monkeypox case.” Now, there are two confirmed cases. Health officials said monkeypox is spread mostly through close contact with someone who has the virus. 

 

(Chicago-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says Google will be taking over the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. The deal is now finalized, with the state receiving 30 million dollars in cash and a nearby office building. Governor Pritzker says the building will house Illinois government employees, helping the state save on downtown leases…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.  The Thompson Center will undergo renovations and then be occupied by Google. The Governor says this will further solidify Chicago as a technology hub.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A Vermilion County man is facing a murder charge after reportedly calling 911 about killing his wife. The Vermilion County Sheriff's Department says deputies and medical personnel responded to the rural Ridge Farm home after the call. They found 77-year-old Norma Smith dead at the scene. Don Smith, 75, was taken into custody on charges of first degree murder.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois says that its three locations will continue to require students and faculty to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, despite a policy change from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration removed a requirement for institutions of higher learning to implement such mandates. No determination has yet been made on whether masking will be required on campuses, with officials saying that decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department will be hosting a Health and Resource Fair tomorrow from 2-5pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison explains a few of the features to this health fair… 

 

 

FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison.

 

(Champaign-jm) — A Champaign man was arrested after he admitted to selling cannabis. Officers from the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant at the home of Donald Friend. Inside they found a pound of cannabis, a pistol, ammunition and money. Friend is charged with possession with intent to deliver. He is due back in court September 13th.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man who robbed a gambling parlor employee at gunpoint has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. Cornelius Tapscott pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to armed robbery. Tapscott went into Lacy’s Place on October 11th and pulled out a gun and demanded money before escaping. Police found his fingerprints on the counter of the establishment leading to his arrest.

 

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is recognizing the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is joining law enforcement officers from Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin for this year’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Speed Awareness Day enforcement campaign today. The campaign is an effort to address the drastic increase in speed and hazardous moving violations that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials report speeding is involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities nationwide.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is recognizing the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In marking the day, IEMA is urging local public safety agencies to ensure emergency preparedness plans IMEET the needs of people with disabilities. Spokesperson Kevin Sur says there are a number of things to consider…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Kevin Sur. Additionally, Sur says information about resources should be available in multiple formats including large print, braille and audio.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student faces charges after being accused of attacking a woman. Huang Xiaomi is charged with domestic battery and sexual assault. U of I Police arrested the 20-year-old while responding to reports of an argument. The victim says Xiaomi hit her and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions over the span of one week.

 

(Armstrong-jm) – Illinois State Troopers and IDOT workers set up a traffic detour in the Armstrong area to divert traffic around a broken-down truck. The blockage happened on U.S. Route 136 at Illinois Route 49. Troopers said the truck was carrying an oversized load and was blocking the road. The road was closed for several hours.

 

(Paxton–jc) Updating our story on new playground equipment for the city of Paxton, city leaders continue to stretch every available dollar and option for upgrades and new equipment at various parks in the city, including Pells and Bixby parks. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the timeline for the project is spring of 2023…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Champaign teenager is now facing murder charges in connection to a homicide investigation. On April 12, Rantoul Police responded to the area of St. Andrews Circle and Willow Pond Road for a report of a possible shooting victim, according to officers in a news release. When they got there, they found 20-year-old Rayvell Lofton dead inside a house. U.S. Marshals arrested 18-year-old Quionte Chaney at the Champaign County courthouse. Authorities were able to identify him thanks to information from community members and data from automatic license plate readers. Officers are continuing to investigate this shooting.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County Coroner, Jane McFadden stated that a late afternoon traffic crash on East Main Street, between Hazel and Vermilion Streets in Danville, claimed the life of a pedestrian who was crossing in the middle of the block southbound when he was struck and killed. The accident occurred at approximately 2:50 p.m. Monday. The pedestrian was identified as Jeffrey W. Gore, a 58-year-old Westville man.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey has a look at the nation’s corn crop…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the State of Illinois has seen a 50% increase in total tax reported from adult-use cannabis, from nearly $298 million in fiscal year 2021 to $445 million in fiscal year 2022. Total adult-use cannabis sales also rose 50%, increasing from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, respectively. Under Illinois’ adult-use cannabis law, 25% of tax revenue generated from cannabis sales must support communities that are economically distressed, experience high rates of violence, and have been disproportionately impacted by drug criminalization. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police said a woman and a child were hit by a car while crossing the street Tuesday. It happened at the intersection of West Kirby and South Staley in Champaign. Police said the two were crossing Staley onto Kirby when a car failed to yield and hit them in the crosswalk. They were both alert and talking at the scene, police said, but were taken to the hospital as a precaution. The driver stayed on the scene and cooperated with police. Champaign Police said the driver was ticketed for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

 

(Potomac-jm) –  A Potomac man has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for counterfeiting U.S. currency and using it. Jacob Kirkley pleaded guilty to one count of manufacturing U.S. currency and two counts of passing counterfeit money. At the sentencing hearing, Kirkley admitted that, on May 17, 2020, a Vermilion County Sheriff’s Deputy found over $20,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency in his truck. Kirkely also admitted that, a month later, he used counterfeit money at Carnaughi’s Towing and a McDonald’s in Danville. Then in July of the same year, he used the counterfeit cash at a Dollar General in Tilton. Kirkley was arrested by a Vermilion County Sheriff’s Deputy on an outstanding warrant on July 23, 2020. At the time of the arrest, deputies said they found over $20,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency, four printers, a paper cutter, and several counterfeit-making implements in Kirkley’s truck and in a hotel room at the Budget Inn in Danville.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department will be hosting a Health and Resource Fair Friday from 2-5pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison explains a few of the features to this health fair… 

 

 

FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a Danville man was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the shooting deaths of two Vermilion County teenagers. Dustin Cooper, 16, of Danville, Illinois is the first of four individuals to go on trial for the deaths of two teenagers resulting from a drug sale and robbery. A Vermilion County jury found Cooper guilty of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of Wyatt Bailey, 19, from Oakwood, Illinois. Cooper was also convicted of first-degree murder based on armed robbery in the death of Clayvonte Sloan, 16, from Danville, Illinois. Cooper faces a sentence of between 40 years to natural life in prison, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled on Sept. 15.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to perform routine storm sewer maintenance activities, National Power Rodding Corp. will have single-lane closures affecting traffic traveling south on Mattis Avenue and west on Kirby Avenue. Traffic will only be affected in one single area at a time with traffic control to reroute travelers. Work is planned during the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting tomorrow through Friday, August 5, 2022. The work is weather dependent and may be delayed in the event of inclement weather.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey has a look at the nation’s soybean crop…

 

 

Illinois State Police is joining law enforcement officers from five other states for Wednesday's Speed Awareness Day

(Springfield-jm) – The expiration dates of Illinois driver’s licenses, ID cards and learner permits have been pushed back yet again. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced the four-month extension, from July 31 to December 1. The extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses and CDL learner permits. Illinois license expiration dates have been pushed back several times since the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down driver services facilities.

 

(Normal-jm) – No jobs will be cut at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal. A company spokesperson said only non-manufacturing jobs would be affected. A report in Bloomberg said the company planned to prioritize certain programs, halt certain non-manufacturing hiring and adopt cost-cutting efforts. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is joining law enforcement officers from five other states for Wednesday’s Speed Awareness Day. The campaign is an effort to focus on the drastic increase in speeders during the pandemic and State Police Trooper Elizabeth Clausing says drivers can expect to see a heavy police presence that day…

 

 

Illinois State Police Trooper Elizabeth Clausing. State police say speeding is a factor in about one third of all motor vehicle fatalities.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs help finding a thief. Authorities say the man stole a phone, and it was valued at $875. Police responded to Lacey’s Place at East University Avenue and North 1st Street on June 20 at 1:07 PM. Witnesses say the man sat down next to a customer, took their phone and then left on a dark-colored mountain bike with an oversized comfort seat. They say he has a medium build with a receding hairline.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two lanes on a street in Champaign will be closing for the next three weeks as crews perform repairs. Weather permitting, one lane in each direction on Town Center Boulevard will close between Prospect Avenue and Neil Street. This work will be part of the city’s Infrastructure Maintenance Project and it will begin today.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest look at Illinois crops. Rain was down and temperatures were up this past week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener gives a rundown of the state’s corn crop…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 55 percent of soybeans are blooming and 20 percent are setting pods. 61 percent of the soybean crop is rated in good to excellent condition. 87 percent of the second cutting of alfalfa hay is complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 16 percent very short, 19 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison for having a gun. Michael Wilkens received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Wilkens was arrested in October 2021 by Champaign police after receiving a report of him waiving a gun.

 

(Washington-jm) – Growth in U.S. milk production is being constrained by several factors. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton—jc)  City of Paxton leaders are working on placing some new playground equipment in various parks and city property. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says plans for additions to Pells and Bixby parks are in the works…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

The city will use its own workers to place any new park playground equipment.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker said he is feeling better after contracting COVID-19 last week. Pritzker said he tested negative over the weekend and plans to return to in-person work. He tested positive after traveling to Florida for a Democratic party event. Pritzker is fully vaccinated and has had two booster shots. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The State of Illinois is spending more than $12 million to help more students get to school safely. The Illinois Department of Transportation said the money will improve sidewalks and bike paths near schools, as well as ensure they are accessible to students with disabilities. The state announced that it is awarding grants to 17 communities to help them make sidewalks and bike paths safer for students, as well as reduce the risks of crossing busy roads.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Sales of adult-use cannabis in Illinois jumped by 50 percent in the last fiscal year. Recreational marijuana sales climbed to one point five billion dollars in fiscal year 22, generating major sales tax revenue for the state, says Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki…

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. Under Illinois law, 25 percent of sales tax revenue from cannabis sales is set aside for communities that are struggling or have been disproportionately affected by past drug laws. So far, the state has awarded more than 113 million dollars in grants to such areas.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police are reimplementing directed patrols under the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program, to promote traffic safety and address community concerns about speeding and other moving violations. Police officers will focus on reducing speeding, ensuring compliance with stop signs and traffic signals, and reducing aggressive driving. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest look at Illinois crops. 81 percent of corn is silking and 17 percent is in the dough stage. 71 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener turns to soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 87 percent of the first cutting and 10 percent of the third cutting of alfalfa hay is now complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 16 percent very short, 19 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Board discussed the proposal of funding for the gun violence reduction plan. They decided to pass the funding and begin contracts for the organizations that will be receiving the money. The reduction plan will give a total of $1.4 million to four different local organizations with the hope of reducing gun violence in the area. The organizations are Housing Authorization of Champaign County ($385,000), DREAM ($500,000), First Followers ($500,000), and Vision to Succeed ($15,000). The money for the plan will come out of the county's two year $40.7 million American Rescue Plan Act fund. The board has pledged a total of $4.1 million to reduce gun violence in the next two years. The final decision on where the money will definitively go, and how much, will be decided at the next county board meeting on August 18th.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA is out with a new higher forecast for retail food prices.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Secretary of State Jesse White's office is extending the expiration date for Illinois driver's licenses and ID cards

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is again extending the expiration date for Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards. The current expiration deadline is July 31st, but that’s now being delayed until December 1st. That way, no one needs to rush into their local driver’s license facility, says Spokesperson Henry Haupt. He notes that more people than ever can now renew their license online…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. You can also take care of other business online, like renewing your license plate sticker at: il sos dot gov.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation will be hosting a virtual public meeting this Thursday regarding the state’s National Electric Infrastructure Plan. The plan is the latest effort by Governor Pritzker to have 1 million electric vehicles registered in Illinois by 2030. During the meeting, IDOT will provide information about the plan and receive feedback from the public. The feedback and comments gathered at the meeting will help guide IDOT in developing a statewide plan to create and support an interconnected network of charging stations along key travel routes. The plan is required for Illinois to receive an anticipated $148 million to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Clean energy proponents are calling on regional power grid operator “MISO” to move forward with a number of solar and wind projects. MISO serves central and southern Illinois as well as other midwestern states, managing the generation and transmission of electricity. But during a press conference, Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin said the operators need to stop relying so heavily on fossil fuels…

 

 

State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin. Castro says if Ameren customers ever find themselves in the dark, MISO’s inaction is to blame.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The Gibson City Police Department and Livingston County Proactive Unit conducted a search warrant at a home in Gibson City on Friday. Officers said upon conducting the search they arrested multiple people for drugs and weapons. William Lindsay was arrested for meth delivery and possession, as well as possession of firearms and ammunition. Richard Fidler was arrested for meth delivery and possession. Patricia Chandler and Shaya Krueger were arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Kody Rengel was arrested for possession of meth, and hypodermic needles. Gibson Police said that during the execution of the warrant they seized: 75 grams of meth, 25 Clonazepam pills, hypodermic needles, ammunition, and cash. The suspects were booked at the Ford County Jail.

 

(Champaign-tr) – The Champaign County Fair runs through July 30th. Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna says today will feature the Cincinnati Circus performing throughout the day… 

 

 

Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna.

 

(Undated-jm) – Nearly all Illinois counties are rated at high or medium community level for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 94 counties in Illinois are rated at high or medium community level. Fifty-eight are at high and 36 are at medium level. Ford, Champaign, McLean and Vermilion Counties are at high level. Iroquois, Kankakee, Piatt and DeWitt Counties are at medium level.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's new cattle report points to a continued reduction in the beef herd for some time to come. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is awarding nearly 150 new adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. These 149 conditional licenses are the first to be issued under the state’s recreational cannabis law and are based on three lotteries conducted last year. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Secretary Mario Treto says they reflect the state’s commitment to social equity…

 

 

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Secretary Mario Treto. Licensees have 180 days to secure a physical storefront location.

 

(Springfield-jm) – According to a recent poll, Illinois Democrats would like to see Governor J.B. Pritzker in the White House if Joe Biden doesn't run for re-election. Victory Research, a polling company based in Chicago, said 77% of respondents were in favor of Pritzker going for the Democratic nomination. As for Illinois Republicans, nearly 90% were not in favor of Pritzker running for President.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Chicago area expressway shootings are down 36 percent so far this year. From January until now, there have been 84 expressway shootings. There were 132 shootings during the same period last year. Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says they have really focused on this particular issue, employing special enforcement details, technology like license plate readers, air patrols and more…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. One person has died in an expressway shooting this year. That compares to 10 during the first half of 2021.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 22-year-old man was shot in his legs while he was walking along a Champaign street, according to police.  On Friday at 10:43 p.m Champaign Police responded to the 100 block of Kenwood Road for a report of a shooting with injury. According to police, when officers arrived they found a 22-year-old Urbana man who had been shot in his leg. Police said his injuries were non-life-threatening.  According to police the man was walking northbound near a building on Kenwood Road when an unknown man subject walked past him, turned around, and fired multiple shots from a weapon, striking the victim from behind. According to police the gunman fled the scene.

 

(Ford.Iroquois-tr) – Ag leaders here in Illinois are concerned about many things going into the harvest of 2022. Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece explains… 

 

 

Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Construction crews will be closing a lane on University Avenue in downtown Champaign this week in order to install amenities atop a building rooftop. University will close between Neil and Walnut Streets to allow for the installation at 9 East University. The closure will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., during which eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane.

 

(Washington-jm) – The nomination deadline is coming up for potential candidates for this year's Farm Service Agency County Committee elections. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Champaign County Fair starts today and will run through July 30th

(Springfield-jm) – The unemployment rate in Illinois has reached its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic. The June jobless rate came in at four point five percent, down from four point six in May says Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. There was also job growth in June, with nearly 19 thousand jobs added over the previous month. The largest gains by far were made in Illinois’ leisure and hospitality industry.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker called on Secretary Xavier Becerra, head of the US Department of Health and Human Services, to take more aggressive action to counter the monkeypox virus outbreak in the U.S. The governor has directed 4,600 doses of vaccine from the statewide allocation, to the City of Chicago, as Illinois cases continue to be predominantly located within the city. The letter outlined the lack of available vaccines in Chicago and Illinois as a whole, despite Illinois being the state with the third-highest number of reported cases thus far.

 

(Champaign-tr) – The Champaign County Fair starts today and will run for 9 days through July 30th. Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna says that Saturday is Military day alongside the much anticipated demo derby…

 

 

 Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna

 

(Champaign-jm) – A student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported that she was scammed out of $60,000, according to the police. Officials said the student first received a call in March from someone who claimed to be a Chinese police officer. The caller said that the student was involved in a criminal investigation and asked her to wire money to an unknown account to clear her name.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Some new playground equipment are in the plans for several areas in the city of Paxton. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says an investment is being made in the city parks…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. As the equipment for the various parks is ordered, city workers will use their expertise to build and place the equipment. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is sponsoring legislation to establish a new Food Safety Administration taking away food inspections from the FDA.  It would be run by food safety experts who are focused on protecting the nations food supply. On the floor of the U.S. Senate Durbin pointed to the death of Mary Billman of Pesotum. Billman was in Florida in January when she ate some ice cream. She later died. It has been determined the ice cream was likely contaminated by Listeria.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Highway mowing is underway, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is urging drivers to slow down when approaching crews. Drivers can expect to see workers out attending to ditches, culverts and along the roadways, says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says IDOT follows a specific mowing plan that improves highway safety while protecting roadside habitats for pollinators like the monarch butterfly.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Carvana is no longer allowed to sell vehicles in Illinois. The company's dealer's license was suspended in the state in mid-May. A stay was put on the temporary suspension order on May 26. This allowed Carvana to continue to conduct business in Illinois, but only under strict guidelines. According to the Secretary of State's office, Carvana violated the May 26 agreement by "conducting business in a manner that violates Illinois law." Vehicles that have already been purchased, but not yet delivered will still be delivered during the suspension.

 

(Champaign -tr ) – The Champaign County Fair starts today and will run for 9 days through July 30th. Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna says that Sunday will feature many different Horse shows… 

 

 

Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police officials said they are still trying to find the suspect or suspects involved in a stolen car investigation. Champaign Police responded to a crash near Centennial Park Wednesday night. Officers stated the car was stolen. It crashed into a tree near Sangamon and Crescent drives. Witnesses said two men got out of the vehicle and ran away. Police are continuing to investigate this situation. If you know anything about this, call police at (217) 351-4545.

 

(Ford/Iroquois-tr) – Much of Ford and Iroquois County is well through its growing season. Crops are looking like a mixed bag at this point in time according to Ford Iroquois County Farm bureau Manager David Treece… 

 

 

Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A group that helps in emergency situations is looking for volunteers to join their team. The Champaign County EMA Search and Rescue team was at Hessel Park this week. Distinguished by their orange shirts, the team was practicing a missing person search. The group is always looking for new team members.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Your family might want to wait a few weeks to start picking up back to school supplies. The state’s 10 day sales tax holiday begins August 5th, covering things like coats, shoes and school uniforms costing less than 125 dollars apiece, says Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki…

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. During the holiday, the state’s portion of sales tax imposed on school items drops from six and a quarter percent to one and a quarter percent. The break runs August 5th through the 14th.

 

The Iroquois County Fair continues this weekend. Tonight its the Latting Rodeo at 7. Saturday night its the Christian music concert featuring Building 429, I am They and Apollo LTD starting at 7, Sunday its the ITPA tractor pulls at 6.

The WPXN Charity Ice Cream Booth is in operation from noon to 8pm each day.

 

The 2022 Champaign County Fair kicks off today. Tonight its country music stars Cole Swindell with Michael Ray and Ashley Cooke at 7, Saturday it's the demo derby at 6:30, Sunday its the draft horse show at 4.

 

The Rantoul Family Sports Complex will host a touch a truck event for kids on Saturday, July 23rd from 10-1.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Gold Star Mission on Saturday, July 23rd from 10-2.

 

The Mega Millions Jackpot is now more than six hundred million dollars

(Springfield-jm) – The Mega Millions Jackpot is now more than six hundred million dollars. There was no grand prize winner again in Tuesday night’s drawing so the jackpot rolls over to an estimated 630 million dollars says Lottery Spokesperson Lorell Lynch…

 

 

Lottery Spokesperson Lorell Lynch. Mega Millions tickets cost two dollars each and you can add a “Megaplier” for an extra buck to boost any non-jackpot winnings. The largest grand prize ever won in Mega Millions was one and a half billion dollars in 2018.

 

(Monticello-jm) – An Illinois State Trooper was hurt Wednesday morning when their car was hit by a truck while on duty. The crash happened in Monticello at Kirby Medical Center just after 7 a.m. State Police officials said a semi-truck was backing out of a private drive across Medical Center Drive to a construction site when the truck hit the side of the Trooper’s car. The Trooper was taken to the hospital, but is expected to be ok. The driver of the semi-truck was not hurt, but he was ticketed for Improper Backing and Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid a Crash.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police responded to a car crash near Centennial Park. Champaign Police confirmed the car was stolen when it crashed into a tree in the area of Sangamon and Crescent Drives. Witnesses said two men got out and ran away, ignoring their offers of assistance. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign police.

 

(Iroquois Fair-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair runs through Sunday just outside Crescent City. Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward says the sale of livestock, usually held on Sunday, will instead take place on Friday…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward. Becky Puetz will be broadcasting from the fair over the noon hour today as part of our summer fun tour. Tonight it's the demolition derby.

 

(Watseka-jm) – A Watseka man is dead following a crash on Route 24 on Tuesday night. 22 year old Ryan Durflinger was on a motorcycle when he collided with a semi. Durflinger was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to install a rooftop unit at 9 E. University Avenue, Roland Realty will close an eastbound lane of University Avenue between Neil Street and Walnut Street. The closure will occur between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26. During the closure, eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane in the area.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are the likely effects of a very strong U.S. dollar on U.S. agricultural exports? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs’ office is offering some tips for using Bright Start money to pay college expenses. Families planning to use their Bright Start college savings to cover costs should log into their account, select “transact online” and then “withdrawal.” Users will be asked what kind of withdrawal they want to make, says Treasurer Spokesperson Erik Krol…

 

 

State Treasurer Spokesperson Erik Krol. Some schools require the money to be transferred electronically and you will need your student’s college ID number. Krol says it’s best to start the process early to ensure payment is received on time.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County first responders will be holding a joint training exercise this Friday at Centennial High School. The exercise will begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude at approximately 2 p.m. People living near the school can expect to see an increased police presence with multiple first responder vehicles. The exercise will include the use of training weapons and non-projectile blank rounds. The blanks will only be used inside the school, but may be heard from the outside. People are advised to stay away from the area to allow first responders to have the space to properly conduct their exercise. The school and its parking lots will be closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but Crescent Drive will remain open.

 

(Champaign-jm) – One downtown Champaign bar announced it will close its doors in August.  In a post on their social media, Stix Arcade Bar credited their demise to the pandemic, opening a little more than a month before COVID-19 stay-at-home orders shuttered bars state-wide.  Stix has yet to announce an official closing day. 

 

(Champaign Fair-tr) – The Champaign County Fair will kick off Friday, July 22nd with a big music act to perform that night. Champaign County Fair Board Vice- President Bill Alagna details who will be performing…

 

 

Champaign County Fair Board Vice-President Bill Alagna.

 

(Oakwood-jm) – Vermilion County Coroner Jane McFadden has identified the victim of a traffic accident on I-74 in Oakwood last Friday night. McFadden identified the victim as 52 year old Traci Garcia of St. Joseph. The incident remains under investigation.

 

(Roberts-jm) – The Route 115 railroad crossing in Roberts will be closed coming up August 1st as railroad crews update the crossing. The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Illinois Central Railroad crews will begin the work on the crossing August 1st with work expected to be completed in 7 days. A detour will be set up.

 

(Washington-jm) – What will the retail turkey situation look like for this coming holiday season? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Income and property taxpayers in Illinois can expect to start seeing state rebate checks sometime the second week of September

(Springfield-jm) –  Income and property taxpayers in Illinois can expect to start seeing state rebate checks sometime the second week of September, just before the November election. Illinois lawmakers approved rebates as part of the budget that began July 1. Individual income tax filers will get $50 each and $100 per dependent up to three. Property taxpayers will get up to $300 additional, depending on the value of their home. Comptroller Susana Mendoza hopes the checks go out the week of September 12th.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the governor's office. The positive test result came after Governor Pritzker was informed that several people he had been in close contact with in Florida had also tested positive. As of Tuesday the governor is only experiencing mild symptoms. He has already been prescribed the anti-viral medication, Paxlovid, and is working from home.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is looking to broaden the use of “Clear and Present Danger” reports when it comes to reviewing FOID card applications. An emergency rule was filed to let the state police retain and use past clear and present danger information when determining if someone should get a FOID card, says Director Brendan Kelly…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Previously, a clear and present danger report only served to revoke the FOID of a current card holder. Kelly says they want to make the rule permanent and will continue to review procedures in light of the Highland Park and other mass shootings.

 

(Undated-jm) – Dangerous temperatures lie ahead in the latest heatwave to hit Illinois. The worst of the heat and humidity will last until Saturday.  Daytime highs will reach the mid to upper 90s in some areas, with the heat index reaching up to 105 degrees.

 

(Penfield-jm) – The Champaign County Forest Preserve District was awarded $294,000 in grant funding by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The funding will be used to enhance the dark sky trail at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve in Penfield. Money will be used to help light the trails, trail nodes for stargazing, an observatory where visitors can set up their own telescopes, an open-air shelter, a small parking lot, expanded campgrounds, and a nature play area. Middle Fork is known for having some of the darkest skies in Champaign County, which make it optimal for stargazing. In 2018, it was recognized as an International Dark Sky Park, which makes it the first and only in Illinois.

 

(Ford County-tr) – The Ford County Public Health Department will be hosting a Health and Resource Fair July 29th from 2-5pm at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. FCPHD Community Health Educator Kami Garrison shares what the event will be like… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison

 

Last night at the Iroquois County Fair, Jakki Mowrey of Milford was crowned 2022 queen. Riley Summers was crowned Little Miss. 

It’s armband night and the Talent Show at the Iroquois County Fair tonight.

 

(Washington-jm) – What is the 2023 production and price outlook for the nation's hog producers? Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A public policy research group has a dire outlook for Illinois’ public pension systems.  After huge investment returns in 2021, the Reason Foundation reports several states' pension systems most likely will experience financial losses for this year, including Illinois, as the stock market experiences significant declines. The forecast found that Illinois’ unfunded pension liability could grow from $121 billion in 2021 to $142 billion if the state's major pension plans report -6% investment returns for 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The secretary of Illinois Department of Human Services has been ordered to appear in court on Thursday, July 28 by a Sangamon County judge. The agency has been held in contempt of court by a Sangamon County judge for refusing to take custody of inmates deemed unfit to stand trial and in need of psychiatric treatment. On Tuesday the court said IDHS had still not wholly complied with an order in May by not allowing the Sangamon County Sheriff to transport and admit inmates into a medical health center for fitness restoration treatment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The University of Illinois Extension is offering some tips for harvesting garden fruits and vegetables this summer. Here are some general guidelines when picking the results of your hard labor says Extension Horticulturist Ken Johnson…

 

 

University of Illinois Extension Horticulturist Ken Johnson. For tomatoes, Johnson says they are best when they are allowed to ripen on the vine, but when it gets above 90 degrees, they will quickly soften and can be ripened indoors instead. Summer squash like zucchini should be harvested and tender. Once plants start producing, Johnson says it’s a good idea to check them every day.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently celebrated a new director.

Madhu Khanna, professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and iSEE’s interim director since 2020, was named the second director of the institute. 

 

(Champaign-tr) – The Champaign County Fair starts Friday July 22nd and will run for 9 days through July 30th. Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna is confident that the crowds will show up even though fuel costs are up and may impact certain events like the demo derby. 

 

 

Champaign County Fair Board Vice President Bill Alagna.

 

(Washington-jm) – 2023 could be the second straight year of falling U.S. beef production. Gary Crawford has those details…

 

 

Iroquois County fair gets underway today

(Chicago-jm) – The trial of four people accused of trying to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been scheduled for March 6. The four are accused of arranging for Madigan’s associates and allies to get jobs, contracts and money in order to influence Madigan as key legislation worked its way through Springfield. The trial was moved because of conflicts with singer R. Kelly’s child pornography trial. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers have just about wrapped up winter wheat harvesting. Winter wheat harvesting is now 96 percent complete, which is about on par with the five year average. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 60 percent of corn is now silking…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 41 percent of soybeans are blooming and eight percent are setting pods. 62 percent of the soybean crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The second cutting of alfalfa is now 78 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated 11 percent very short, 17 percent short, 67 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Illinois State Police said that a 73-year-old woman was injured in the crash that happened on I-74 in Mahomet Monday morning. State Troopers said that a car driven by Judy Bunde of Stewartville, Minnesota was driving eastbound when she experienced a “medical event.” Bunde’s car swerved off the highway, entered the center median, became airborne and hit an embankment. Bunde was airlifted to an area hospital, but her injuries are not life-threatening.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs help finding a thief. Police say he stole cigarettes and liquor from a Circle K. Authorities say the man approached the counter with those items, and then he asked for more items to distract the employee. That’s when he left. Witnesses believe he is in his 40s, about 5’10”, with a medium build and tattoos on his arms. If you have any information regarding this or any crime in Champaign County, please contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Director of the Department of Children and Family Services has been held in contempt a dozen times since the beginning of the year. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the issue and what needs to be done…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On July 17th, George Pacheco of Gibson City was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and battery.

 

(Washington-jm) – New crop insurance designed to provide greater coverage of double cropping practices have been announced for 2023. Rod Bain reports…

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is expanding the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program to now provide health care coverage to undocumented immigrant adults and certain legal permanent residents ages 42 and over. The program was launched in March initially for qualified people ages 55 to 64. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers have just about wrapped up winter wheat harvesting. About five days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, and 96 percent of winter wheat has now been harvested. That compares to 97 percent completed at this time last year. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 60 percent of corn is silking and six percent is in the dough stage. 70 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated 11 percent very short, 17 percent short, 67 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Three teenagers were arrested and charged following a series of vehicle burglaries that happened in Clifton and Chebanse. Deputies from the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Clifton Police Department arrested 19-year-old David Hodges along with two male juveniles, 16 and 17 years of age. All three of the suspects are from Kankakee. The Sheriff’s Office said the three were also arrested in connection with a residential burglary that happened in the Iroquois Mobile Estates park in Chebanse. They attempted to flee from the mobile home park on foot, but were caught and taken into custody without incident. They’ve been charged with multiple counts of Burglary to Motor Vehicle, Residential Burglary, Unlawful Possession of Firearms and Ammunition and Possession of a Stolen Firearm. The teens remain in custody awaiting a court appearance.

 

(Urbana-jm) – If the city of Urbana is going to get another plasma center, it’s going to have to wait. Further discussion on the new plasma donation center in Urbana was pulled from last night’s meeting. It was proposed that the donation center will go in the old save-a-lot grocery store on North Broadway. That request did not pass last week’s vote. As of now, there is no set date for further talks on that decision.

 

(Iroquois Fair-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair gets underway today and runs through the 24th just outside Crescent City. Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward gives a rundown of each main event… 

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward. Six girls will be competing for the title of Miss Iroquois County tonight. The contestants are: Nicole Gotter of Watseka, Jordin Lucht of Milford, Cassie Peters of Crescent City, Destiny Thomas of Danforth, Emma Hensen of Milford and Jakki Mowrey of Milford. The pageant begins at 7.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The village of Rantoul is getting a new fire chief. Ken Waters is retiring from the Rantoul Fire Department. Waters served the department for 47 years including the last 17 as chief. Chad Smith will take over as chief starting August 1st.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Good demand and continued high prices are in the offing for the upcoming U.S. corn crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

New legislation would make parents who sign off on their child's FOID card criminally liable for any related damages

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding the public to be wary of scam emails and texts purporting to be from his office. There’s a new version of fake messages going around says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt says they would like people to take a screenshot of the text or email and send it to: scam alert at il sos dot gov for investigation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new nationwide suicide hotline launchedd Saturday, just call 9-8-8. The goal is for 9-8-8 to become the 9-1-1 of mental health support. Illinois Department of Human Services Mental Health Director Dr David Albert says this will make it easier for those experiencing suicidal thoughts to quickly reach a trained professional…

 

 

State Department of Human Services Mental Health Director Dr David Albert. Albert says Illinoisans calling the lifeline will be connected with an in-state mental health professional.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A man was arrested for sexual assault of a minor. Police say Matthew Morgan sexually assaulted a minor in Champaign. Officers from the Champaign Police Department were referred to the case from the Piatt County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Monticello Police Department. Police said, following an investigation Morgan was arrested on the charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor. They state the crime appears to have occurred in Champaign.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Staff shortages are causing more problems in Champaign County. Minors at the juvenile detention center are being sent to other facilities across the state. They’re being moved to Vernon Hills, Joliet, and Normal detention centers. Eleven detainees were moved last week. Four more are expected to be transferred this week.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Isabella Smith has been named the 2022 Miss Champaign County Fair Queen. The pageant was held last night. Addison Coffey was named Little Miss. The 2022 Champaign County Fair gets underway this Friday and runs through July 30th at the fairgrounds in Urbana.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – Golf Carts and other UTV’s may be taking to the streets of Rantoul. A new code is being looked at to allow these types of vehicles on city streets. However, Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith clarifies that these types of vehicles will not be allowed on highways… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Construction crews will be closing down one block of Lincoln Avenue in Urbana this week in order to repair a bridge carrying the road over Boneyard Creek. This project is expected to last almost a month. The closure will be between Springfield Avenue and Green Street and it will start today. Access will be maintained to properties on that block, but through traffic will not be allowed. There will be a marked detour leading traffic onto Springfield and Green to use Goodwin Avenue for passage around the closure. Repairs are expected to be complete by Friday, August 12.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – A golf course in Mahomet is replacing its gas-powered golf carts with new ones powered by Lithium-ion batteries. Lake of the Woods Golf Course is leasing 60 carts from Battery Specialists + Golf Carts in Champaign to replace its current fleet. The course said the old carts were past their normal useful life while the new ones have better technology and life and are simpler to maintain.

 

(Iroquois Fair-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair will be celebrating 50 years of talent this year. WPXN’s Tyler Robinson has the details… 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – New legislation would make parents who sign off on their child’s FOID card criminally liable for any related damages. The bill comes from Representative Mark Batinick of Plainfield who says since parents have to sponsor the FOID application if their child is under 21, they should be held responsible if that kid causes harm with a firearm…

 

 

State Representative Mark Batinick of Plainfield. This situation was seen in the Highland Park shooting where the suspect had obtained a FOID card with his parent’s consent despite some previous warning signs.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging families to make sure their kids are safe around water. Whether it’s a baby pool, big pool or lake, water can be dangerous for children. That’s why they should never be left unattended, says Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. 

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. Fultz says statistics also show that kids who have had formal swimming lessons are 88 percent less likely to drown. Other tips include emptying inflatable pools when done using them for the day and teaching children to stay away from pool drains and pipes.

 

(Urbana-jm) – One person is dead and a suspect is in custody following a shooting on the U of I campus Friday night. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 46 year old Joshua Berg of Urbana died at Carle Foundation Hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for today. Police arrested 42 year old Matthew Denbo. Authorities believe an argument broke out between the two when Denbo shot Berg.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation will begin resurfacing work on interstate 57 starting today. The work area will be 7 miles from Thomasboro to Rantoul in both directions, including the south ramps at exit 250 for Rantoul. One lane will be open in each direction. Later this summer IDOT will be resurfacing I-57 from Rantoul to the Ford County line, including north ramps for Rantoul.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul has been seeing some economic success in recent months. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery has the details… 

 

 

 Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton city property committee will meet later this month. The committee will discuss some form of recognition for former Mayor Jim Kingston who died earlier this year. The committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 26th at 7:15.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The “With Illinois” fundraising campaign officially ended June 30 and concluded with a $200,000 personal contribution from Chancellor Robert J. Jones and his wife, Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones. The “With Illinois” campaign was the most ambitious and successful fundraising campaign in university history, reaching the initial $2.25 billion goal 15 months ahead of schedule.

 

Unemployment claims are reaching lows in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Because of inflation that accelerated to 9.1 percent last month, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is warning of an economic storm ahead that could include increased layoffs and decreased home values. Chamber CEO Todd Maisch said Illinois policy makers should ensure they are responsible with state spending and avoid tax increases in light of negative economic indicators.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Unemployment claims are reaching lows in Illinois. The number of people continuing to certify for benefits has hit a historic low of a little over 65 thousand says State Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

State Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. Richards says job growth in the manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, professional, technical and business services sectors has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Paxton man who was reportedly selling cocaine at a local downtown business was sentenced to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Christopher Bradley pleaded guilty to the Class X felony and was sentenced during a pretrial hearing in Ford County Circuit Court. Bradley was scheduled to stand trial the following Monday. In exchange for Bradley’s plea, State’s Attorney Andrew Killian agreed to dismiss additional Class 1 felony charges of manufacture/delivery of 1-15 grams of cocaine. When Bradley was arrested on the warrant on April 21st, police found on his person five bags of suspected cocaine weighing a combined 5.5 grams, plus $408 in cash. That same day, Paxton police executed a search warrant at Bradley’s home at 249 S. Winter St., where they found 156.5 grams of suspected cocaine valued at about $15,650, plus $337 in cash

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul is expecting the final plans for a new shopping center. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it will be located at the former Knights Inn location… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Illinois State Police say a Paxton man died after a crash on I-57, around six miles north of Champaign. In a news release, troopers said it happened around 1:45 a.m. Thursday. They stated Kyle Messer was driving southbound when he–for unknown reasons, veered his car toward the right guardrail and hit it. The car then caught on fire. Troopers said Messer was trapped in the car and could not get out. Messer was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – After reviewing wages of all those who work for Vermilion County, the County Board has approved a new contract for Juvenile Detention Center employees. The new contract is for three years and includes a three percent increase each year. Also included is a one time $5,000 payment to each employee. The county board is looking at seven other contracts for county employees and hope to approve those next month.

 

(Washington-jm) – What's the likely market scenario for U.S. soybean growers during this next crop season? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Another $100 million has been deposited into the state’s rainy day fund that used to barely have enough money to run the state for 30 seconds. Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the latest deposit, saying the total now is $854 million. The fund at one point had less than $60,000, something Mendoza said was not enough to run things for half a minute.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This may be another big year for winter wheat in Illinois. According to the July production report, harvested wheat acres are estimated at 720 thousand, up 110 thousand from last year. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says the yield should be strong…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The Illinois oats yield is forecasted to be 82 bushels per acre, down one from 2021.

 

(Undated-jm) – A bicycle ride honoring fallen police officers will be coming through Central Illinois. The 18th annual Cycle Across Illinois started Thursday in Alton and rode to Springfield. Today the riders will go from Springfield to Urbana. Tomorrow the group will ride from Urbana to Bourbonnais, making stops in Rantoul, Paxton, Buckley and Gilman. The riders are expected to be in Rantoul around 9:25, Paxton around 10:51, Buckley around 11:59 and Gilman around 1:53. The group will wrap up their ride Sunday going from Bourbonnais to Bridgview. In total the riders will complete 355 miles.

 

(Iroquois Fair-tr) – The Iroquois County Fair will run July 19th -24th just outside Crescent City. Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward shares just how many people it takes to make a county fair great…

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Secretary Pat Ward.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Thursday morning at approximately 5:14 a.m., Champaign Police responded to the 400 block of E. Beardsley Avenue for a report of a shooting with injury. Upon arrival, officers located 34-year-old Latoya Gwin from Champaign unresponsive with a life-threatening gunshot wound and immediately rendered medical aid. The woman was transported to an area hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.  The initial investigation indicates that the woman was a resident of the premises, and was engaged in a domestic dispute when a firearm was discharged and she was struck. No arrests have been made at this time.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton pool will close in early August. The pool will close August 7th due to staffing with school getting ready to start. This is the first year the pool has been open since 2019.

 

(Washington-jm) – Price Inflation for Food is running higher than for all goods in the general economy. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Fisher Community Fair continues through Saturday at the fairgrounds in Fisher. Tonight at 7 its country music superstar Joe Nichols taking the stage. Saturday at 6 its the demolition derby.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Rantoul Masonic Lodge on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Hometown Heroes will host a bike run on Saturday starting at 11 am at the Gibson City American Legion. Cost is $30 per couple, $20 per person.

 

Some industries in Illinois will have some COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements relaxed

(Springfield-jm) – Some industries in Illinois will have some COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements relaxed. The updated executive order amends testing requirements for some unvaccinated health care employees and removes mandates for some other industries, including schools. Currently, healthcare workers who are unvaccinated need to be tested for the virus at least once a week. Under the updated requirements, long-term care facilities with the most vulnerable residents, including skilled nursing homes, will now test staff who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccine weekly if located in an area of moderate community level transmission and twice weekly in areas of substantial or high community level transmission. Vaccine mandates for higher education employees and students and emergency medical service providers will not be reissued. Vaccination mandates will remain in place in K-12 schools, daycares, state-run 24/7 congregate care facilities, and any health care facilities not covered under the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccine mandate.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s rainy day fund is getting another boost. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says 100 million in additional dollars has been deposited into the fund, bringing the total to 854 million. She says the rainy day money is vital in case of another pandemic, economic downturn, or budget impasse like the one that lasted more than two years…

 

 

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza says the state’s rainy day fund should be up to one billion dollars by the end of the summer.

 

(Champaign-jm) – One lane on a Champaign street will be closing today in order to allow construction crews to perform sewer repairs. SNC Construction will be shutting down the right southbound lane of Neil Street between Knollwood Drive and Windsor Road. Southbound traffic on Neil will be consolidated into one lane for the duration of the repairs. The closure is planned to end by 4 p.m. on Friday.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Service environmental projects are coming to Champaign.

Champaign County Executive Darlene Kloeppel’s office says three government agencies in Champaign County are getting money from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps to aid in the local natural environment in Champaign. The Champaign County Department of Planning and Zoning will organize neighborhood clean-up events in neighborhoods and roadways in Urbana township. The City of Urbana Public Works Department will be planting trees along the right-of-way areas in the city with focus on lower-income neighborhoods. Champaign County Forest Preserve District will be removing invasive species and promote ecological restoration in the entire County of Champaign.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul will not be sending utility credits to local residents after Tuesday night's meeting.The idea received enough votes from the board, but was ultimately vetoed. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith explains…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith .

 

(Urbana-jm) – A student at the University of Illinois was recently scammed out of $89,000 by someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate General’s office. University Police said the student received a phone call around June 19 and the person on the other end claimed the student’s passport was involved in a criminal investigation. The student was told that he needed to pay $150,000 to clear his name; as directed, he wired $89,000 to banks in California, the Bahamas and Hong Kong.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Chinese are continuing to buy more U.S. food and agricultural products than at this time last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Chicago-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker is defending his focus on the Highland Park mass shooting over the gun violence that’s been a fixture in Chicago week after week. Pritzker on CNN was asked about critics of the perceived heightened focus on one area over the other saying the Highland Park mass shooting was “unusual” because of the weapon used by one shooter to kill seven people and shoot dozens of others.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is cautioning the public to watch out for scams related to victims of gun violence. Several groups are raising money to help those affected by the Highland Park shooting, but it’s important to do your homework before you donate, says Attorney General Spokesperson Drew Hill…

 

 

Attorney General Spokesperson Drew Hill. Hill also warns that a number of family members and friends of victims injured during the shooting are getting calls from potential scammers. The caller offers to help with applications for aid from the Crime Victim’s Compensation program.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana woman was sentenced to six months in prison for purchasing guns and giving them to felons. During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed how Lawanda Moore purchased four guns lawfully and then proceeded to give one to her husband, a convicted felon. The other guns were seized during two subsequent investigations. The gun Moore unlawfully gave to her husband was found in a hotel room along with various narcotics in October 2015. Her boyfriend was found to be in possession of three guns seized in November of 2018 and June 2019, all purchased by Moore. One of those guns was used during a shooting in Champaign.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student reported to university police that she was the victim of a hate crime. The student was walking in the 500 block of south Goodwin Avenue outside of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, when a man at the top of the amphitheater began yelling racial slurs and other derogatory remarks, according to U of I police. The man also threatened violence but did not act upon those threats.

 

(Fisher Fair-tr) – The Fisher Fair has crowned new royalty this year. Lacey Cotter will be representing the Fisher fair as their new queen. Miss Fisher Fair Queen Lacey Cotter says she's been around the fair since she could first walk… 

 

 

2022 Miss Fisher Fair Queen Lacey Cotter.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department announced that, through the first six months of 2022, the city saw just half the number of shootings it did in the first six months of 2021. Champaign Police officials said that between January 1 to July 11 of this year, Champaign Police responded to 71 shooting incidents, which are considered to be any time officers find evidence of a gun being fired. During the same date range in 2021, Champaign Police responded to 145 shooting incidents, a reduction of 51% between years.

 

(Washington-jm) – The U.S. appetite for foreign food and agricultural products is growing fast. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

Governor J.B. Pritzker has appointed Dr. Sameer Vohra to head the Illinois Department of Public Health

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker has appointed Dr. Sameer Vohra to head the Illinois Department of Public Health. Vohra is the Founding Director of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy. He also serves on the board of directors at Sangamon County Medical Society. Vohra replaces Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who was IDPH director for 3 years and guided Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistant IDPH Director Dr. Amaal Tokas led the Department after Ezike stepped down in March, and will continue to be the assistant director.   Vohra’s first day is August 1st. He will be Acting Director until the Illinois Senate confirms his nomination.  

 

(Springfield-jm) – Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke to a U-S Senate Committee Tuesday about the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on abortion. Lieutenant Governor Stratton was part of a panel and was asked what the federal government should do moving forward. She said the President should use every tool possible to ensure reproductive freedoms and work with Congress to put those rights into law…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. Stratton told senators Illinois is preparing for an influx of women coming to the state for an abortion, since some neighboring states have now banned the procedure.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A lane closure on Kirby Avenue in Champaign to complete sidewalk construction starts today. The closure will be located between Mattis Avenue and Waverly Drive. Traffic between these roads will be reduced to one lane through July 22nd. One lane on westbound Windsor Road in Champaign is currently closed to allow for the installation of fiber optic utilities. The lane closed between Galen Drive and Mattis Avenue is expected to be closed until Friday. One lane of traffic remains open in this area.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul has purchased some equipment to better help the local police department. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the additional equipment, more specifically, license plate scanners, will really help crimes get solved… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Officials with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department said there is a “single presumptive monkeypox case” in Champaign County. The case is in a man who lives in Champaign County, but also recently traveled to Chicago. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana City Council approved a special permit to expand the satellite facility of the Champaign County Jail. The downtown jail closed last week and the clock was ticking, as the need for additional space for inmates was growing. The vote was 4-3. The county hopes to have the project done by 2024.

 

(Washington-jm) – Crop prices continue to moderate. New USDA reports lends more impetus for that moderation. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is warning the public about a scam. It claimed Illinois was giving out 1500 dollar rebates to help alleviate high gas prices. The scammers took advantage of the news about the state’s tax relief program, which launched at the beginning of July. The program promised property tax and income tax rebates, but there’s no rebate at all around gas prices.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new state law aims to grow the microchip industry in Illinois. The Micro Act includes tax incentives for microchip manufacturers setting up shop here. It was sponsored by Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton of Western Springs…

 

 

State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton of Western Springs. Glowiak Hilton says microchip production has gone down in the U-S over the past two decades, and Asia is now the leading manufacturer of the chips.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Health experts in Champaign County are sounding the alarm about a new COVID-19 subvariant that is spreading through the county.

BA.5 is a subvariant of the Omicron variant and is extremely infectious. The Champaign Urbana Public Health says people need to remember COVID is still going around and encourage those who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated. The FDA has asked vaccine manufacturers to design a booster shot for the fall that targets the newest Omicron variants like BA.5.

 

(Fisher-tr) – The 81st Annual Fisher Fair runs through the 16th. Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty says that today is Children's day, featuring a bicycle giveaway… 

 

 

Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty. Becky Puetz will be broadcasting from the fair this morning.

 

(Champaign-tr) – A man has been charged after officials said he threatened an Indianapolis medical center. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said John D. Armstrong, of Indianapolis, was a patient at OSF Hospital in Urbana. Officers were called there because he was making threats against the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis. Rietz said Armstrong’s criminal history goes back to 1976 in Illinois, Florida and Georgia. In 2001, he was convicted on aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Sangamon County. He also had convictions in Georgia as well as Macon County for failure to register as a sex offender.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Five people escaped a fire at a duplex in Champaign Tuesday morning. The Champaign Fire Department was called around 7:28 a.m. to the duplex in the 400 block of Nathaniel Burch Drive. Two adults and three children were inside the duplex at the time of the fire.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's latest wheat production forecasts indicate increased production for winter wheat month over month, and durum and other spring wheats year over year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The condition of Illinois crops improved over the past week

(Springfield-jm) – Some Democratic-leaning states that took out loans from the federal government to pay out unemployment funds are not repaying the debt with budget surpluses, which will result in small increases in taxes for businesses to recover the funds. Some made dents in the debt owed but declined to pay off the balance in full. If debts aren’t repaid by November, all businesses in the states will be charged $21 per employee by the federal government and higher state taxes on businesses to fund unemployment programs. Illinois owes roughly $1.8 billion in unemployment funds after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to pay back $2.7 billion in March using funds from the American Rescue Plan. Republican state lawmakers had lobbied the state’s Democratic majority to repay the balance in full using those funds.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The condition of Illinois crops improved over the past week. The rain was welcome in many fields and gave crops a little boost, says Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 15 percent of corn is silking and 66 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. 92 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as 9 percent very short, 22 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Emily Claire Hari, formerly Michael Hari, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to firebomb a woman’s health clinic in Champaign. Hari pleaded guilty to attempted arson charges back in February. Monday Hari received a 14 year sentence. That sentence is to run concurrent with the 53 year sentence Hari received for the bombing of a Minnesota mosque.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a single vehicle accident Monday afternoon. Crews were called to the single vehicle rollover accident on Route 45 near 500 north near the Ludlow Co-op Elevator around 3:15. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul has finalized the purchase of two new police vehicles. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says delivery of those vehicles are expected in 6-12 months… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is partnering with local businesses and organizations to invest $300,000 to fight violent crime in Champaign County. The university is joined by Busey Bank, Carle Health, Christie Clinic, OSF HealthCare and the United Way of Champaign County, each of which is investing $50,000. The funds, named Investment for Impact, will be allocated to the United Way of Champaign County to address immediate solutions to violent crime, as well as long-term solutions to address underlying factors and patterns that lead to future violent behavior.

 

(Washington-jm) – May was another stellar month for U.S. agricultural export sales. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Ogden–jc)  –  A semi truck fire shut  down both lanes along Interstate 74 near mile marker 202 late last night. Police say the accident happened around 10 last night.  Workers remained on the scene for several hours. Both lanes were closed for two hours. Clean up continues in the area and motorists are reminded to slow down and move over in accident scenes.
 

(Washington-jm) – Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton is set to testify in Washington, D.C. today on how the reversal of Roe v. Wade will impact women and the nation. The panel hearing she will be testifying at is called “Post-Roe V. Wade America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision.”

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The condition of Illinois crops improved over the past week. 29 percent of soybeans are blooming and two percent are setting pods. Statistician Mark Schleusener says 63 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, which is better than the previous week…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 92 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and 63 percent of the second cutting of alfalfa hay is now complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 9 percent very short, 22 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul village leaders could decide tonight on giving a $300 utility credit to residents. The proposal was brought up at last week’s study session. The proposal would use some of the village’s American Rescue Plan money to go towards the credit. Proponents say it will help those struggling with the high prices of inflation. Opponents say that money should go towards other upgrades in the village. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6.

 

(Gibson City-tr) – The Hometown Heroes Bike Run will take place Saturday July 16th, starting from the American Legion Post 568 in Gibson City. American Legion Post 568 Treasurer Tabitha Renfrow explains who this event will benefit… 

 

 

American Legion Post 568 Treasurer Tabitha Renfrow.

 

(Champaign-jm) – People in Champaign have a chance to engage with police officers today during the Champaign Police Department’s latest Coffee With a Cop event. The event will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Farmhouse Restaurant at Harvest Market, located at 2029 South Neil Street. The community is invited to join officers for conversation over a coffee.

 

(Fisher-tr) – The 81st Annual Fisher Fair is set for today through Saturday. Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty says that Tuesday is Military day and Queens Night… 

 

 

Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty.

WPXN will be broadcasting live at the fair tomorrow morning with Becky Puetz

 

(Champaign-jm) – A COVID-19 outbreak at a senior living facility in Champaign has residents living there on lockdown. Inman Place is dealing with 13 cases, and one of the people living there has died from COVID complications. 88-year-old Donald Blankenship, a former Champaign police officer, tested positive this week and passed away shortly afterward. Family members said he was not vaccinated against the coronavirus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign will not have contractors performing annual outdoor warning siren maintenance to each of the fifteen sirens in the City’s alerting system on July 12 and 13. Originally the contractors were going to activate the warning sirens for short periods of time, not to exceed thirty seconds, to ensure proper performance during emergencies. Should an actual emergency exist, the warning sirens will activate as normal, for a period exceeding two minutes. However, due to possible storms they will reschedule for a later time.

 

(Washington-jm) – Will this year's agricultural exports reach the record high levels being projected? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Several areas of the state are experiencing drought conditions

(Springfield-jm) – New legislation in response to the Highland Park shooting creates a “White Flag” law. The goal is to close a loophole in current laws and add an extra layer of protection, says Villa Park Representative Deb Conroy…

 

 

State Representative Deb Conroy of Villa Park. There’s a bill already in the legislature banning assault weapons that is picking up traction in the wake of the deadly 4th of July shooting.

 

(Chicago-jm) – DCFS Director Marc Smith was held in contempt of court and fined $1,000 per day for the 12th time since January 6, 2022. This is the 12th 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 order involves a 15-year-old girl whom DCFS has kept detained in a locked psychiatric hospital where she has been ready for discharge since January 14, 2022

 

(Springfield-jm) – Several areas of the state are experiencing drought conditions. Precipitation has been down, and large chunks of northern, southern and central Illinois are rated as abnormally dry according to the latest U-S drought monitor. Far northwestern Illinois, eastern Illinois and southeastern Illinois are considered to be in a moderate to severe drought says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Ford is hopeful the recent rain will make a dent in the drought conditions, noting it’s particularly important for crops to get moisture during this month’s critical growing stage.


 

(Cissna Park–jc)  The Cissna Park community lost a beloved former Mayor and businessman last week. 92 year old Richard “Dick” Baier passed away on Thursday at his home.  Baier owned and operated the Cissna Park News and Rankin Independent for decades and also served the village as Mayor for 4 terms. Baier was also a Marine and active in the Cissna Park American Legion. He also served there in many capacities, including Legion Commander. Knapp Funeral Home in Cissna Park is handling arrangements. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The former executive director of a Rantoul nursing home will have to pay thousands of dollars back after admitting she stole. Kimberly Cross was sentenced to 3.5 years of probation and 100 hours of community service for financial exploitation of an elderly person. Police said she deposited checks written to the Villas of Holly Brook into an account other than the business account. She will have to pay back more than $16,000 as part of her sentencing.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – A 2020 Ford Ranger hit the Subway building in Hoopeston Friday night. 75 year old Larry Dunavan of Rossville turned into the parking lot hitting the east facing side of the building. He drove between the front of the building and concrete barriers in front of the door. He was ticketed for a DUI.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's next assessment of Ukraine's crop and trade situation is in the works. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Looking to make some extra money this summer? The Illinois State Fair and DuQuoin State Fair are hiring seasonal workers. The temporary jobs pay 14 dollars an hour and are vital to the operations of both fairs, says Spokesperson Krista Lisser…

 

 

Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Those interested can apply online at the Illinois State Fair or DuQuoin State Fair websites.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker reissued and modified the executive order to suspend the requirement of the Illinois Department of Human Services to notify county jails of the placement location within 20 days of the order. The executive order was issued one week after the Department of Human Services was held in contempt and the day before a scheduled injunction hearing in the case filed by Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell. The Illinois Sheriff's Association says the exact language challenged by Sheriff Campbell was deleted in this new executive order. Instead, it was replaced with subjective language about the Department of Human Services just needing to prioritize working with the sheriffs now. The crux of the issue is the long wait times inmates deemed mentally fit are experiencing in jails before being able to get the mental health treatment they've been ordered to receive.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A Highland Park area lawmaker says all ideas are being considered when it comes to preventing another mass shooting. Representative Bob Morgan says he’s looking at several pathways including an assault weapons ban, loopholes in the state’s red flag laws and how social media can potentially help prevent such tragedies…

 

 

State Representative Bob Morgan. Morgan says his office has been getting hundreds of calls since the 4th of July and that all suggestions are welcome.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Champaign County downtown jail is officially closed. The county secured funding to move the final 70 inmates allowing for the closure. What happens next is unknown. The county approved a $20 million plan to expand the satellite jail in Urbana. However, an Urbana committee decided to not recommend a special use permit that is needed to move forward with construction. The full Urbana city council will vote on the committee’s decision this week.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Firefighters were called to Champaign Central High School on Sunday to battle a fire that started in a dumpster next to the school.

The fire started around 1 p.m. A group of contractors working on school renovations discovered the fire and attempted to put the fire out with extinguishers; those efforts did not succeed.

 

(Washington-jm) – With its upcoming world supply and demand forecasts USDA's Outlook Board hopes to add a little bit of certainty to a market that has had very little certainty this season. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Wreaths Across America is recognizing groups across the state for their commitment to their local veterans and communities

(Springfield-jm) – The first black woman to sit on the Illinois Supreme Court was sworn in Thursday. After taking the oath at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, new Justice Lisa Holder-White spoke about the historic moment…

 

***News nws 1904holderwhite1***

 

New Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder-White. Holder-White replaces retiring Justice Rita Garman. White’s appointment expires at the end of next year when the seat will be filled by the winner of the 2024 general election.

 

New

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul voted to make a purchase that will replace their HVAC system at the water plant. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the equipment is on-site and ready to go shortly… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Undated-jm) – A man has been arrested following a string of arson fires in Champaign and Rantoul. Jamal Carter is charged with aggravated arson in connection to the March 3rd fire at the home of a relative in Champaign. He’s also suspected of trying to set fire to the same residence three more times including once this week. Carter is also suspected of setting the three fires at the same home on Gleason Drive in Rantoul. Right now, Carter is only facing one count of aggravated arson in connection to the March 3rd fire but Champaign County prosecutors say they will likely file additional charges for the others.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  –  No word, yet, from the Illinois Fire Marshal’s Office concerning a fire on Monday that destroyed Jay’s Place in downtown Gibson City and heavily damaged Hustedt Jewelers and also Hood’s Ace Hardware. Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey says more should be available later today…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey. Mayor Dickey also would like to say, again, thank you to all the area fire departments that helped fight the downtown Gibson City fire. Hood’s Ace Hardware and Hustedt Jewelers remain closed due to the fire. Owners of Hood’s Ace are asking any customers with any needs to contact their Mahomet Hood’s Ace Hardware. 

 

(Onarga-jm) – Wreaths Across America is recognizing groups across the state for their commitment to their local veterans and communities and one of those groups recognized is right here in the WPXN listening area. Onarga American Legion Post 551 joins 9 other organizations around the state to receive the honor. National Wreaths Across America day is set for Saturday, December 17th.

 

(Penfield-tr) – The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club Historic Farms Days got underway yesterday in Penfield. I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter details all the activities going on today… 

 

 

Stelter shares what will take place this Saturday…

 

 

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

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Habitat for Humanity will be building a new home in Rantoul in 20-23. Those with interest in the program must start by filling out a form with Habitat for Humanity. Forms are available on line. Anyone, to date, that has filled out an interest form will automatically receive an application. That date is today.

WPXN News will continue to provide information on this project as it develops.

 

(Watseka–jc)  The travel channel is expected to do a feature Watseka on Saturday night.  The program, “Ghost-brothers” is doing a show on the Watseka Wonder-House. The program airs at 7pm on Saturday.

 

(Highland Park-jm) – As the community of Highland Park heals, one lawmaker shares how you can help. Several fundraising campaigns have been launched since the 4th of July mass shooting, but Representative Bob Morgan offers a good starting place if you’re wanting to donate…

 

 

State Representative Bob Morgan. Morgan says if you are in the area, blood donations are always welcome. Otherwise, he recommends talking to local legislators about what can be done to prevent a similar tragedy in your community.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) –  A Vermilion County man was sentenced to 10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for possession of meth. Edward Finch was on parole for a previous meth conviction and proceeded to use meth and drove throughout country roads in Vermilion County. Finch attempted to break into a home in Vermilion County through their garage. He then confronted a neighbor with a passenger in his vehicle resulting in an argument. The neighbor then called Vermilion Sheriff’s Deputies. The deputies recognized Finch as a parole, as he had just been released one month prior for meth possession. At the time, deputies arrested Finch for 80 grams of meth on his armrest.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Two Paxton residents have been named the Illinois Soybean Associations 20 under 40 winners. Dallas Glazik and Michael Nelson both were announced as winners.  Congratulations to both on the awards.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state primary is done and now the focus shifts to the November election. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses some of the upcoming races…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Chrystalla Mouza has been appointed dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign effective August 15, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Her title until officially approved will be dean of the College of Education designate. Mouza is the director and Distinguished Professor of Teacher Education specializing in educational technology in the University of Delaware’s School of Education, and a professor of computer and information sciences in Delaware’s College of Engineering.

 

(Cissna Park–jc ) The July Shop the Park in downtown Cissna Park is set for Saturday from 9am to 1pm.  Dozens of local vendors ranging from Perfume Meats and Bauer’s Crops and Cattle to Donna’s Rolls and Pastries will be there. Cissna Park Development Board Spokesperson Bud Petry says some new vendors are also coming on Saturday…

 

 

Cissna Park Development Board Spokesperson Bud Petry

 

(Champaign–jc)  A portion of Cottage Grove Court near Springfield Avenue in Champaign will be closed today for a repaving project.. The closure is expected to last around one week for road repairs. The city of Champaign reminds the motoring public to take extra precaution in road construction areas. 

 

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 the Paxton Masonic Lodge on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Champaign County will host a first responder recruitment fair on Saturday from 10-2 at Parkland College Dodds Athletic Center.

 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in LaRable will hold their annual parish homecoming on Sunday with mass at 11 am and a chicken and pork chop dinner from 12-5. Also happening including a tractor pull at noon, kiddie tractor pull at 1, raffles and bingo throughout the day.

 

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association will host a 50th Anniversary Reunion on Saturday

(Gibson City-jm) – Three people were hurt after two vehicles collided on Illinois Route 47 near Gibson City on Wednesday. The crash happened a quarter-mile south of the town. State Troopers said their preliminary investigation indicated that a van was traveling north on Route 47 when it was rear ended by a semi truck. Three people who were hurt are said to have only received minor injuries and are recovering at area hospitals.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is discussing current red flag laws. ISP Director Brendan Kelly says they have carefully analyzed how they handled the review of a clear and present danger report and issuance of a FOID card to the Highland Park shooting suspect.  During a media briefing Wednesday, he was asked if any changes to the process are needed…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Kelly stresses that Illinois red flag laws rely heavily on family members and others reporting their concerns about an individual and then cooperating with law enforcement.

 

(Danville-jm) –  32 hot air balloons will take over the Vermilion Regional Airport in Danville this weekend. Pilots from 14 different states will be with the balloons.  This is part of the sixth annual Balloons Over Vermilion event.  This year, a B-25 bomber from Ohio is going to be on site for people to ride. 

 

(Rantoul-tr) – Freedom Fridays are back this Friday in Rantoul. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery lays out the details for the remaining Freedom Fridays…

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery

 

(St. Joseph-jm) –  Several animals died in a fire at a home in the 100 block of West Douglas Street in St. Joseph on Wednesday. They received a call about the fire on the back porch at 9:20 a.m. Two chinchillas and some fish died in the fire. Fire officials believe the fire might've been caused by candles left unattended. Crews from several different fire departments responded to the fire, including St. Joseph, Eastern Prairie, Gifford, Philo, Edge Scott, and Ogden Royal.

 

(Bloomington-tr) – The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association will host a 50th Anniversary Reunion on Saturday, July 9th at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. There will be a huge number of displays, featuring their museum memorabilia alongside borrowed items from around the state. The Informal social will be decorated much like a school gymnasium with concession type food – Award winning pork chop sandwiches, popcorn, soda, and other food. A cash bar will also be available. A celebratory cake will be cut for all to enjoy as well. You may secure your tickets in advance by going to www.ibcaIllinois.org . Walk - ups are also welcome. 

(Champaign-jm) – Traffic on southbound I-57 near Champaign had to be diverted after an accident with injuries yesterday. State Police say the accident happened at mile marker 238 and traffic was rerouted off at the Olympian Drive exit. There’s no word on what caused the accident.

 

(Springfield-jm) – It’s been a warm and dry start to summer in Illinois. Last month was the 30th warmest June on record, with temperatures one to two degrees above normal overall says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Rainfall was more than an inch below normal in June. Ford says the outlook for the next couple of weeks calls for below normal temps.

 

(Washington-jm) – Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger is getting death threats. In a series of tweets, the Illinois Republican released clips of voicemails and phone calls his office has received recently. Capitol police say they won't discuss potential security measures or potential threat investigations. Representative Kinzinger is one of two Republicans on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 capitol insurrection. The other GOP member, Representative Liz Cheney, has also received threats in the past.

 

(Penfield-tr) – The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club Historic Farms Days gets underway today in Penfield. I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter details a few activities that will kick off their event… 

 

 

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

Becky Puetz will be broadcasting from the Historic Farm Days over the noon hour today as part of our Summer Fun Tour 2022

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Police officers recovered a stolen, loaded gun and arrested its owner during a traffic stop. Terrain T. Minnieweather of Champaign, was arrested near California and Busey avenues, in Urbana, for possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and illegal possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle. Minnieweather was a passenger of a vehicle that initially was stopped for speeding, police said. Officers searched the vehicle after they said they smelled an odor of cannabis and found a loaded handgun in the glove compartment along with several boxes of ammunition. Police said a records check revealed the gun had been reported stolen out of Chicago.

 

(Undated-jm) – Area communities are receiving several thousand dollars in federal COVID money and are putting it to use improving their communities. We look at communities in Champaign County… Gifford is receiving $142,616 to upgrade their sewer plant. Ludlow is receiving $48,446 that they will add to $340,000 they received from the county to do phase two of their water main project. St. Joseph is receiving $525,286 for the first phase of the stormwater project on Douglas Street.

 

Illinois will offer a sales tax holiday on school supplies for 10 days in August

(Highland Park-jm) – Illinois State Police Tuesday released new details involving the man accused of opening fire from a rooftop during an Independence Day celebration near Chicago on Monday. In September 2019, ISP received a clear and present danger report on the suspect, Robert E. Crimo III, from the Highland Park Police Department. The report was related to threats he made against his family. There were no arrests made in the incident and no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action. Additionally, no Firearms Restraining Order was filed, nor any order of protection. At that time of the incident, Crimo did not have a FOID card to revoke or a pending FOID application to deny, ISP said. Once this determination was made, ISP involvement with the matter was concluded. In December of 2019, at the age of 19, Crimo applied for a FOID card. State police said Crimo was under 21 and the application was sponsored by Crimo's father. At the time of FOID application review in January of 2020, there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application. At least seven people were killed and at least 30 others were wounded.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New and improved Illinois official bike maps are now available. There’s a free map for each of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s nine districts, newly designed to make them easier to understand, says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The maps include noteworthy stops and attractions that are accessible by bike. You can order one online at: idot dot click slash bikemaps.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois will offer a sales tax holiday on school supplies for 10 days in August. Sales taxes for qualified clothing and school-related items will be reduced from 6.25% to 1.25% from August 5 to 14. Items include qualifying clothing and shoes with a retail price of less than $125 per item.

 

(Undated-jm) – It was another big week for winter wheat harvesting as we hear in the weekly crop report. Rainfall was more than a half inch below normal so farmers had plenty of time in the fields, says Crop Statistician Steve Parn. 87 percent of winter wheat has now been harvested, up from 66 percent the previous week and ahead of the five year average. Turning to corn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Nine percent of soybeans are blooming and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 11 percent very short, 33 percent short, 55 percent adequate and one percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – An armed robbery took place at Slim Chickens located off of Neil St in Champaign around 10pm on June 12th. Officials state the man armed with a handgun entered the business, ordered store employees in the office, and forced them to turn over the contents of the safe. The suspect fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. The male is described as: light skinned black male, between 30-40 years old, wearing blue jeans, white shoes, a black Nike hoodie, and a blue face mask.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District announced they will be giving COVID updates twice a week on their website. Previously CUPHD provided COVID testing data weekly. The updates will be based upon data received by the IDPH occuring Monday through Friday. No updates on weekends or holidays.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An audit done on the issues surrounding the Illinois Department of Employment Securities handling of the COVID pandemic has exposed far more than expected. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the audit…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – Hoopeston fire officials confirm a fire at a vacant factory over the weekend was caused by illegal fireworks. Firefighters from several departments battled the blaze at the former Joan of Arc tomato plant Sunday night. There’s no word on how much damage was done but fire officials say the building needs to be torn down. Investigators continue to look for the cause of the fires in Gibson City and in Watseka.

 

(Penfield-tr) – The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club Historic Farms Days will take place starting tomorrow in Penfield.  I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club President Chuck Stelter lays out what tractors will be featured this year..
 

 

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

Becky Puetz will be broadcasting live over the noon hour on Thursday as part of our Summer Fun tour 2022.

 

(Highland Park-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday issued a disaster proclamation for Lake County to help in recovery efforts following Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park in which seven people died. A disaster proclamation grants the state the ability to expedite the use of state resources, personnel, or equipment to help affected communities recover.

 

(Springfield-jm) – July is extreme heat safety month. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees and the humidity remains high, it can be dangerous to be outside for too long, says Illinois Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Scott Swinford. He offers this advice…

 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Scott Swinford. Swinford also says you should avoid overexerting yourself and take frequent breaks in the shade. In your home, IEMA recommends keeping curtains and shades closed and not using the oven if possible.

 

(Chicago-jm) –  Illinois State Police are investigating a mob action incident that took place on Sunday. It happened just before 2 a.m. near Division Street and Elston Avenue in Chicago. ISP says a trooper was driving southbound on I-90 when they noticed traffic congestion on the exit ramp and traffic at a standstill on Division Street and some individuals engaging in reckless driving stunts. According to ISP, a mob of approximately 100 people swarmed the ISP trooper's squad vehicle, jumping on the hood, breaking the windshield, kicking the vehicle, and throwing rocks, bricks, and fireworks.


(Undated-jm) – It was another big week for winter wheat harvesting as we hear in the weekly crop report. Winter wheat harvesting jumped by 21 points to 87 percent now complete and ahead of the five year average of 79 percent. Crop Statistician Steve Parn looks at soybeans…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Four percent of corn is silking and 32 percent of the second cutting of alfalfa is now complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent very short, 33 percent short, 55 percent adequate and one percent surplus.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Due to pavement buckling, the eastbound lanes of Curtis Road are closed between Mattis Avenue and Freedom Boulevard.. Drivers in the area will need to use alternative routes. Pavement repairs are expected to begin today and the traffic lanes will be reopened once all repairs are complete.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Biaggi’s in Champaign is set to close soon for its nearly $500,00 renovation. Customers can expect to see new flooring, lighting and a brand-new color palette as well as a new bar. The remodel is expected to start on July 16 and the restaurant will reopen on August 6.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul has been seeing some economic success in recent months. The Sports Complex has really become quite the attraction off I-57. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery says The Fringe minigolf stays very busy… 

 

 

 Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

(Undated-jm) – Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $289 million. On a per-share basis, the Deerfield, Illinois-based company said it had profit of 33 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 96 cents per share. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 95 cents per share. The largest U.S. drugstore chain posted revenue of $32.6 billion in the period, falling short of Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $32.74 billion.

 

(Washington-jm) – Farmers got higher prices for almost every product they sold in May. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

High heat returns to the area starting today with heat index values pushing 110-115

(Gibson City-jm) – Crews from multiple fire departments battled a blaze in downtown Gibson City Monday evening. Fire officials believe the fire started at Jay’s Place and spread to several nearby buildings. There’s no word on the cause of the fire. 

 

(Onarga-jm) – Crews in Iroquois County responded to a small fire in Onarga. Crews were called to the Federated Bank just before 5:30. No injuries were reported.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A homeless woman in Rantoul is accused of stealing a vehicle from a gas station. Monica Rodriguez is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. Police say Rodriguez allegedly stole a work truck at the Casey’s gas station. A short time later a deputy found Rodriguez in the vehicle in East Urbana. She is due back in court July 22nd.

 

(Undated-jm) – High heat returns to the area starting today. A heat advisory goes into effect at noon for all of the WPXN listening area. Temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s with heat index values pushing 110-115 today. 

 

 

(Rantoul-tr) – Rantoul celebrated their first Freedom Friday last Friday night. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer details what future freedom Fridays will look like…

 

 

Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two road lanes on the University of Illinois campus will be closing this week as construction crews complete electrical work for streetlights. The construction zone will be located on Kirby Avenue between First and Fourth Streets, in the immediate vicinity of Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center. One lane of eastbound Kirby will close today and reopen midweek, at which point a westbound lane of Kirby will close for the rest of the week. This work is expected to be complete on July 11.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – In updating our story from yesterday morning. Hoopeston fire officials believe fireworks caused a fire that destroyed an old factory Sunday night. Fire officials say they were called to the old tomato factory around 10:30 pm and called for assistance from fire departments across Iroquois and Vermilion Counties. The fire remains under investigation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois will be receiving a shipment of vaccines to address the ongoing outbreak of monkeypox virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health said it expects to receive more than 4,500 doses of the vaccine, with most of them going to Chicago. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 46 probable monkeypox virus cases in Illinois, mostly in Chicago. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man who allegedly threatened people with a rifle was arrested. Marcus  Walker is expected to be formally charged today with unlawful use of weapons by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm. A Rantoul police report said about 12:20 a.m. Saturday, several people were hanging out in the parking lot of the apartment complex on Hobson when Walker returned home and reportedly got upset that there were so many people present. The report said he appeared to have been drinking. Multiple witnesses said that Walker allegedly produced a rifle, which had been wrapped in a bedsheet, and threatened to shoot people. The report said the rifle, loaded with five rounds, had been stolen from Tennessee.

 

(Undated-jm) – Severe weather came through the area Monday afternoon causing damage and leaving some without power. Strong winds brought down tree limbs and power lines. A farm building was damaged near Chatsworth. Most of Cissna Park was also without power on Monday evening til after 9pm. The National Weather Service is looking into a brief tornado touchdown near Pontiac.

 

(St. Joseph-tr) –The Village of St. Joseph is currently in the process of having a few of their downtown locations appraised. Village Administrator Joe Hackney says an official appraisal is in the works, but do have a good estimate in mind after getting a Broker Opinion of Value…

 

 

St. Joseph Village Administrator Joe Hackney

 

(Pesotum-jm) – District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum have released results of recent distracted driving enforcement patrols. During the patrols in Champaign County, troopers issued 20 citations for driving with a handheld phone or device. No citations were issued for texting while driving.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police responded to a report of a vehicle striking a building Saturday night. Before crashing into a storefront, a Dodge Ram 2500 damaged several parked vehicles. It happened outside Meet Fresh, a restaurant on 2nd Street and University Avenue. Police said there were no injuries, but the driver was taken to the hospital because they believe a medical issue caused the crash. 

 

(Chicago-jm) – A judge is questioning why a Chicago woman who shot and killed her brother is facing only a low-level gun charge. Denise Franklin has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting. Judge Susana Ortiz was so surprised that she thought prosecutors were presenting the wrong case. Prosecutors explained the more serious charges were rejected by the state’s attorney’s office. A Chicago Tribune analysis showed Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a Democrat, has dropped nearly 30% of charges against felony defendants.

 

 

Sibley’s fireworks will be held tonight after they were postponed last night.

 

Happy 4th of July!!!

(Hoopeston–jc) WPXN news has learned of a major fire in the city of Hoopeston that occurred early this morning. Details remain stretchy, but a fire happened at the former tomato plant just off Thompson street. No word on the amount of damage was provided and also no word on any injuries. WPXN news will update this story as more information becomes available. 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health Friday reported 28,216 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 74 deaths since June 24. The CDC reported 28 counties including Champaign are at high risk of transmission while 53 counties including Ford, Piatt, McLean, Livingston, Kankakee, DeWitt and Vermilion are at medium risk. Iroquois County remains at low risk. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 34-year-old man from Champaign is recovering after he was hurt in a drive-by shooting Saturday evening. The shooting happened in the 1100 block of Joanne Lane. The victim told Champaign Police officers that he was in the front yard of a home when a vehicle sped past and he heard gunshots. The victim was shot in the thigh and sought medical aid at Champaign Fire Station 3; he was taken to the hospital and is listed in stable condition. Officers found multiple shell casings on Joanne Lane, but found no other victims or property damage. No arrests have been made yet and the investigation is ongoing.

 

(Paxton-tr) –  Paxton’s 38th Annual July 4th Celebration will take place today at Pells Park. Paxton Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson  Alan Meyer says that plenty of food will be available… 

 

 

He also gives details on the car show… 

 

 

Paxton Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer. Awards for the car show will be handed out at 3pm. 

 

(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Sheriff’s office released their June activity report. Deputies responded to 11 traffic accidents and issued 3 citations each for speeding and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, 2 each for disobeying a traffic control device, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving with an expired license and 1 each for DUI, illegally parked in roadway, illegal possession of cannabis and illegal transportation of alcohol. Deputies also responded to 10 domestic disputes, 4 thefts, 3 criminal damage to property reports and 1 each of stolen vehicle, fight in progress, burglary and vandalism.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to complete streetlight electrical work for the University of Illinois, Champaign Signal and Lighting will close a lane of Kirby Avenue between First Street and Fourth Street. The work will begin on Tuesday, July 5 and end on Monday, July 11. One eastbound lane will be closed initially, switching to one westbound lane midweek. Only one lane will be closed at a time. 

 

(Washington-jm) – An expert says that a popular time-saving cookout practice could raise the risk of making you and your holiday cookout guests very sick. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director John Kim announced the opening of Illinois’ Electric Vehicle Rebate Program. The program was created under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Pritzker in the fall of 2021. Individuals can now access and complete an application for a rebate under Illinois’ EV Rebate Program. Applications for the first funding round are being accepted on or before September 30, 2022.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a rollover accident late Friday night. Crews were called to the accident on I-57 north of Paxton just before midnight. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul will be celebrating the 4th of July starting last night with their Freedom Fridays celebration. Rantoul will have a parade Monday. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery says they want to celebrate the 4th, all month… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

(Undated-jm) – A man who tried to escape from Livingston County jail has an additional two years added to his 10-year sentence for robbery according to the Central District United States Attorney office. John Beck admitted to robbing the following during a 14 day crime spree: Dollar General in Buffalo, Bank of Pontiac, Odell Bank, Fast Stop Store in Odell, Village Pantry in Paxton, Subway in Danville, Morton Community bank in Elmwood. Throughout his robbery splurge, Beck stole cars from two different people from Mechanicsburg and Paris. In the process he stole license plates from two other cars. During his time in custody he tried to escape from Livingston Jail in September of 2021. Beck pled guilty to all charges in January 2022 with no plea agreement. When he was arrested, he was on supervised release for a bank robbery from 2007, in which he was sentenced to 12 and half years. He was also on parole for a past armed robbery conviction in Champaign County.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Former Champaign Mayor Jerry Schweighart has died. Schweighart served in the Champaign police department for 32 years. He was a council member before becoming Mayor in 1999. He went on to serve 12 years as mayor.

 

(Washington-jm) – Food safety experts say many of the food poisoning cases that will flare up on and right after July 4th will be from two common grilling mistakes. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Paxton will hold their 38th annual old fashioned 4th of July on Monday at Pells Park with the 5k at 8, community worship service at 9:45, 11:30-3 bounce house and kids games, 12-3 Back Paiges perform, 1-3 penny scavenger hunt, watermelon eating contest at 2 and fireworks at Bixby Park at 9.

 

Sibley will hold their Red, White and Blue Independence Day celebration on Monday. Activities include fishing derby at 8:30, Air Life Helicopter from 11-1, parade at 11:30, kids games at 1, knockerball and foam machine from 3-4, bingo 3-5, face painting and kids inflatables 4-7, model airplane and boat show at 6, live music by The Fairchilds at 6:30 and fireworks at dusk.

 

Rantoul’s 4th of July parade will take place on Monday starting at 9:30 am.

 

The state's Illinois Family Relief Plan begins today

(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker has ordered all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act to fly the flags at half-staff in honor of Hershel "Woody" Williams.  Williams was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. He died Wednesday at 98 years old.  Flags will be flown at half-staff from Friday through July 3. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s Illinois Family Relief Plan begins today. The plan lifts the one percent state sales tax on groceries for one year and delays an increase in the state gasoline tax, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. There’s also a property tax rebate of up to $300 and income tax rebates for individuals earning less than $200 thousand and couples making under $400,000. The rebates will start going out in September.

 

(Springfield-jm) –  The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced as part of a national strategy to address the ongoing outbreak of monkeypox virus, the State of Illinois is receiving an immediate allocation of vaccines from the national stockpile.  IDPH will initially receive 1,291 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine. Federal authorities said the number of vaccine doses available is expected to increase and the CDC is taking steps to increase testing capacity.  According to the CDC, to date, the 46 probable monkeypox virus cases in Illinois have been reported, with the vast majority in the City of Chicago area.

 

(Springfield-jm) – You can expect to see more law enforcement out on the roads this holiday weekend. Police will be cracking down on drunk drivers, distracted drivers and speeders through the 4th of July holiday, says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. 22 people died on Illinois roads last year during the holiday weekend.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College’s automotive program now allows students the chance to study one part of the business that is quickly growing. It all revolves around electric vehicles.  The program recently purchased a Mustang Mach E electric SUV. It’s different from your typical Mustang. It is bigger, includes two drive motors, has all-wheel drive and a battery between the two motors. Plus, it is fully electric. Each day, students complete tasks such as diagnosing vehicle problems, taking cars apart and putting them back together, and reading and writing so they understand how the components work together.  This Ford Asset program gives students opportunities outside of the classroom in Ford dealerships. They go through 8-week rotations with various technicians and mechanics at the dealership they are assigned. 

 

(Onarga-tr) – Onarga will be having festivities for the 4th of July this weekend with their Independence Day Celebration to be held at Durham Park. Featuring a parade, local food, talent show, and a car show on Sunday. Onarga Chamber President Randy Lizzo says that many food vendors will be available… 

 

 

Onarga Chamber President Randy Lizzo.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A man is in custody after a routine traffic stop revealed he was wanted and in possession of a loaded gun. University of Illinois Police officers pulled over Javario Gill on Florida/Kirby Avenue Wednesday night for driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. During the stop, officers discovered that Gill was wanted on two outstanding warrants: one for property damage and one for failing to show up in court to answer charges related to animal cruelty. Upon being arrested, Gill told officers there was a gun in the car, which they found in the driver’s side door. Gill was arrested on the warrants and for aggravated unlawful use of a firearm. He was taken to the Champaign County Jail.

 

(Rantoul-tr) – The village of Rantoul will be celebrating the 4th of July all month long this July. Freedom Fridays officially kickoff tonight in Rantoul. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery says a music act from Nashville will be making an appearance alongside many other activities… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

(Paxton-jm) – An iconic Paxton restaurant could be reopening as soon as next month. The sale of Just Hamburgers is final and Todd Thorstenson and Brendan Healey are the new owners. Thorstenson, a Paxton native, has owned and operated several restaurants in the Champaign Urbana area. Healey, who is a Loda native, along with Thorstenson’s family have operated 25 KFC restaurants. They plan to keep everything the same and hope to open after hiring staff.

 

(Washington-jm) – Farmers are putting fewer overall acres into production this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – A Canadian railroad with several lines in Illinois says it will spend tens of millions of dollars on improvements in the state. The Canadian National Railway Company said it plans to spend $150 million to improve rail lines and crossing services as well as bridges and signals. CN has three main lines in the state, including the old Illinois Central that runs south from Chicago to Champaign and Carbondale. 

 

(Chicago-jm) – Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin poured $50 million into Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s campaign for the GOP nomination for governor, an investment that turned sour. Irvin finished a distant third Tuesday at a cost of more than $400 a vote, the worst political investment in Illinois history, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis. Irvin was outvoted nearly four to one by State Sen. Darren Bailey of downstate Louisville.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department has made an arrest in connection to a shooting that left a teenager dead and three others hurt. 

Champaign Police officers joined members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force on Thursday in arresting Quentin Hymon for his alleged involvement in the shooting. Hymon, a 20-year-old from Champaign, is being held in the Champaign County Jail awaiting arraignment and trial. The shooting Hymon is accused of taking part in happened on June 19 near Prospect Avenue and Bloomington Road. Officers’ investigation indicated that just before 2 a.m., an impromptu gathering was taking place in a gas station parking lot when shots rang out. 18-year-old Prentiss Jackson was shot multiple times and two women who were near him were shot in the legs.

 

(Paxton-tr) –  Paxton’s 38th Annual July 4th Celebration will take place on Monday at Pells Park. Paxton Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says the day kicks off with a unique 5k run… 

 

 

 Paxton Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer  

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing all drivers services facilities will be closed for the Independence Day holiday. Facilities open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed Saturday. Facilities open Monday through Friday will be closed Monday.

 

(Onarga-tr) – Onarga will be having festivities for the 4th of July this weekend with their Independence Day Celebration to be held at Durham Park. Featuring a parade, local food, talent show, and a car show on Sunday. Onarga Chamber President Randy Lizzo says there will be a new foam pit for kids to enjoy… 

 

 

Onarga Chamber President Randy Lizzo.

 

(Undated-jm) – Fireworks will be lighting up the skies this weekend across some of the communities in the area. Friday night fireworks will be lighting the skies at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. Sunday fireworks will light up the skies in Fisher, Onarga and Rantoul. Independence Day will see fireworks light up the sky at the State Farm Center in Champaign and at Bixby Park in Paxton. Hoopeston’s fireworks will light up the sky on Saturday, July 9th.

 

(Washington-jm) – It looks like many corn and soybean producers changed their minds and their planting intentions between March and actual planting time.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Onarga’s Independence Day Celebration will take place tonight through Sunday. Tonight activities include live music. Saturday at 11 is the parade at 11, inflatables at 12:30, talent show at 1 and a magic show from 2:30-5:30. Sunday it's the car show at 1 and fireworks at dusk.

 

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

 

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

 

Rantouls fireworks will take place at 9 pm Sunday at the Chanute Air Force Base.

 

Paxton will hold their 38th annual old fashioned 4th of July on Monday, July 4th at Pells Park with the 5k at 8, community worship service at 9:45, 11:30-3 bounce house and kids games, 12-3 Back Paiges perform, 1-3 penny scavenger hunt, watermelon eating contest at 2 and fireworks at Bixby Park at 9.

 

Sibley will hold their Red, White and Blue Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 4th. Activities include fishing derby at 8:30, Air Life Helicopter from 11-1, parade at 11:30, kids games at 1, knockerball and foam machine from 3-4, bingo 3-5, face painting and kids inflatables 4-7, model airplane and boat show at 6, live music by The Fairchilds at 6:30 and fireworks at dusk.

 

Rantoul’s 4th of July parade will take place on Monday, July 4th starting at 9:30 am.

 

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