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WPXN Blog Archives for 2022-09

Illinois is receiving almost $22 million for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations along Illinois highways

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Insurance’s Life Policy Locator has helped consumers collect nearly 8 million dollars so far this year. Insurance companies are supposed to track down the beneficiaries of deceased policyholders, but that doesn’t always happen, says Director Dana Popish Severinghaus. That’s where the Agency’s Life Policy Locator comes in. It can help you find policies that may have belonged to a loved one. It’s available online…

 

 

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Dana Popish Severinghaus. To get started, visit the State Department of Insurance’s website at: insurance dot illinois dot gov and click on consumers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new room for nursing mothers opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The room is set aside solely for nursing mothers to feed their babies and pump milk. The room is available for both staff and guests.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is launching a new website to keep the public informed about the reconstruction of Interstate 80 in Will County. The one point two billion dollar multi-year project is being done in several phases. This website, I 80 Will dot org, will make sure the public has the latest information about the area, says IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Maria Castaneda. There’s also photos and video of construction progress as well as detours and traffic alerts. Again the website address is: I 80 Will dot org.

 

(Champaign-jm) – As part of the City’s 2022 Concrete Street Improvements Project, the pavement on Western Avenue from Kirby Avenue to Chevy Chase Drive will be reconstructed.  A and R Services will resume work on the City of Champaign’s project, weather permitting, on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.  At that time, the southbound lane of Western Avenue will be closed between Chevy Chase Drive and Normandy Drive.  This section of Western Avenue will temporarily become one lane, one-way northbound traffic only.  This work is scheduled to be completed by November 13, 2022.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Just like with the recent Paxton Swine and Dine, those coming to the city of Paxton will be able to enjoy some new streets, see some new businesses and shop at new businesses with the annual Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Chocolate walk on Saturday. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says those attending will see a new look for the downtown area…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Danville-jm) – A Danville veteran got to take the trip of a lifetime earlier this week. Vietnam veteran Kenneth Hunter II was selected to go on an honor flight from Springfield to Washington D.C. courtesy of Land of Lincoln Honor Flight. His son got to make the trip with him.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. The month of October is Coop month. E I E C Communications Specialist Melinda Garrelts says E I E C is owned by the members they serve…

 

 

When it comes to delivering electricity, the local coop has a rate of 99 point 49 percent. E I E C Communications Specialist Melinda Garrelts says they take the delivery of safe electricity seriously…

 

 

E I E C Communications Specialist Melinda Garrelts

You can learn more about E I E C with our interview with Garrelts in the Noon newsblock today

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is gearing up for a new pilot project testing school wastewater for COVID-19. This is in partnership with the University of Illinois and an expansion of the current wastewater surveillance system. State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey says they will be selecting 20 schools from across Illinois for the 25 week pilot program…

 

 

State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Under the federally funded project, samples will be collected from sewers or catch basins at each school twice a week and then be analyzed by the U of I.

 

(Springfield-jm) – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, along with Governor Pritzker, announced on Thursday that Illinois is receiving almost $22 million for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations along Illinois highways. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The law sets aside almost $150 million for the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, of which $22 million is going to Illinois. The expansion of the Illinois EV charging network is planned to take place over the next five years. It’s also a part of Governor Pritzker’s plan to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A horticulture expert at the University of Illinois Extension says mums don’t have to be just an annual plant. You can get your mums through the winter, says the Extension’s Ken Johnson. It’s best to plant them in the ground in the spring, but if you haven’t done that, get them in as soon as possible. He notes mums have a shallow root system which can lead to heaving…

 

 

U of I Extension Horticulturist Ken Johnson. Johnson says mums need full sun and are also more prone to drying out, so they need plenty of water in the fall. They should be planted in an area where the soil drains well so the roots don’t get soggy.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of a weapon. The Champaign Police Department says that on May 5, 2021, officers saw a hand-to-hand exchange that they suspected to be drug related. 

The participants in the exchange were detained and a search turned up cannabis, a handgun with an extended magazine, and a large amount of cash. That's when police arrested Keishawn H. Britt. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers won’t return to the state capital until November for the fall veto session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says it will be after the election…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A new study from the University of Illinois finds that toddlers who spend more than 60 minutes looking at screens have lower executive function than those that did not. Naiman Khan, a kinesiology and community health professor, led the study along with food science and human nutrition professor Sharon Donovan and graduate student Arden McMath. The study includes 365 toddlers who were participants in the STRONG KIDS 2 cohort study at the university. The study looked at dietary habits and weight trajectories of children from birth to five years old, and focused on screen time with children younger than two. Researchers said it collected data from children eight times over a five-year period. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend less than 60 minutes looking at screens each day, engage in physical activity, consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day and cut down the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

 

The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Chocolate Walk will take place Saturday starting at 11 am.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the St. Peter's Lutheran Church on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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

 

The first day of early voting in Illinois is today.

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police took to its social media accounts on Tuesday to warn people of scammers impersonating State Police representatives. 

Officials said the scammers are using a common technique called “spoofing” to disguise their phone number and make it look like another of their choosing. They usually make the caller ID look like a government agency that works with personal information, such as the Illinois State Police. In their warning, officials reminded people that the Illinois State Police will never call to solicit money from the public and no legitimate representative will ever ask for personal information over the phone. People who receive a call like this are advised to hang up immediately and provide nothing of value to those on the other end.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul was in Washington DC Wednesday, fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment. The Attorney General’s Office argued before the U-S Court of Appeals as part of a lawsuit to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th amendment to the U-S Constitution. Raoul says this is more important now than ever…

 

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. The suit isn in part, over a Congressional deadline of 1979 for three fourths of the states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and have it added to the constitution.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana woman has been arrested after reportedly battering a 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman. Urbana Police arrested Simone Vernon for aggravated battery and mob action. The Urbana Police Department says that the altercation happened on September 17, in the roadway in the 1900 block of East Florida Avenue.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Republicans are looking to make a major stand when it comes to taking back control of power at the state and federal level. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says he feels there is a shift in power coming to the Republican side as we head closer to the election…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Get ready to Vote! The first day of early voting in Illinois is today. In  Champaign County  residents will be allowed to vote early, by mail, or in-person on election day. Since the previous election, Champaign County has doubled their early voting locations and now have a total of 21 early voting locations. Out of the 21 locations, there is one that's open for 40 days, 11 are open for 14 days, and nine are open for seven days. Early voting runs until November 7. Election day is on November 8. A full list of locations is available on the Champaign County Clerks website.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Today is World Heart Day and for heart attack patients, timing is everything. Gibson City resident Tammi Fanson suffered a heart attack on July 18th. She originally went to Gibson Area Hospital and later transferred to OSF Healthcare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana. She says communication between the hospitals and ambulance services  helped save her life…

 

 

Gibson City resident Tami Fanson

 

Jo Lehigh, a registered nurse at OSF, was on Fanson’s care team. She talks about how important it is to get a person having a heart attack into the cath lab…

 

 

OSF Healthcare Heart of Mary Medical Center Nurse Jo Lehigh.

WPXN News will have more of Fanson’s stories throughout the day as part of World Heart Day.

 

(Gilman–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Pizza Palace in Gilman and Paxton. Owner Eric Bull says the business started in Gilman in 1986 and came to Paxton in 2019…

 

 

Bull says he makes the dough fresh daily and all ingredients are made from scratch…

 

 

Pizza Palace Owner Eric Bull

You can hear a full interview on our Noon news. 

 

(Chicago-jm) – With early voting starting in some parts of Illinois this week, Democratic Governor J-B Pritzker holds a commanding 15-point lead over GOP challenger, State Senator Darren Bailey, according to a new WGN-TV/The Hill/Emerson College Polling survey of likely voters. A majority of voters, 51% support Pritzker’s re-election while 36% support Bailey. Just 5% of those polled say they plan to vote for someone else and 8% remain undecided, with just under six weeks left until Election Day. Illinois likely voters say the economy is still the No. 1 issue at 35% driving their vote in November, followed by threats to democracy at 17% and abortion access at 14%.  Crime is fourth on that list, with only 10% of voters picking the issue as their top concern. Among voters who say the economy is their top issue, 57% say they plan to support Bailey. But 84% of those who say the threat to democracy is their top issue back Pritzker.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Early voting for the November election begins today in most areas of the state. The election isn’t until November 8th but if you’re hoping to avoid potential lines at the polls, you can get your vote in early, says State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich…

 

 

State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. Early voting begins October 7th in Chicago and October 12th for Cook County. Additionally, vote-by-mail ballots can start being sent out this week. You still have time to request one. Visit: elections dot il dot gov for more information.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – If you're looking for new plants to fill your home there are some free ones available in Champaign County. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is holding a bring your own pot event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. They are giving away the plants due to the upcoming demolition of their greenhouse. Because of the demolition, they will not be able to overwinter their tropical plants. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  The 4th annual Wine and Chocolate Walk is set for Paxton on Saturday. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says those coming to the event can walk to the participating businesses or there is a golf cart service…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer. Tickets are available for the event. Only 200 will be sold. Tickets are 25 dollar each.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County Health Department will be hosting a series of drive-thru vaccine clinics throughout the month of October to help people get protected against the seasonal flu. All clinics will be located at the health department, located at 200 South College Street, on the following schedule: Thursday, October 6 from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, October 11 from 1 to 4 p.m., Thursday, October 13 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, October 15 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesday, October 18 from 3 to 6 p.m., Thursday, October 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursday, October 27 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  It’s Eat Drink and Be Scary today in Rantoul. The local Community Servvice Center is hosting an event in downtown to raise money for the Holiday Bureau.  Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford says the event includes a dinner buffet, paint and craft kit and starts at 5-30 this afternoon…

 

 

Community Service Center of Rantoul Executive Director Cindy Crawford

 

The price of gasoline in Illinois is on the rise

(Danville-jm) – Vermilion County State's Attorney Jacqueline Lacy is suing Governor J-B Pritzker and State Attorney General Kwame Raoul over the no cash bail provision in the SAFE-T-Act. Lacy says the bill is poorly drafted and it contains ill-conceived directives in an effort to systematically dismantle law enforcement.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is making some more headway in paying down Illinois’ unemployment insurance loan. Governor J-B Pritzker says a significant payment of $450 million will be put towards the remaining $1.8 billion borrowed from the federal government…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The loan was taken out to help meet the overwhelming demand for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor says Illinois’ growing economy left the state some wiggle room to make this payment.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Four Champaign men were arrested on the University of Illinois campus over the weekend after U of I Police officials said they were caught driving on campus while under the influence of alcohol. All four were arrested separately from one another. One of them also had a loaded gun in his possession and another has a previous conviction for the same offense.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul Township High School is collecting 5 gallon buckets to put in every classroom to help in case of a lockdown situation. Principal Todd Wilson talks about the need for the buckets…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson. Those wanting to donate can do so by dropping them off at the high school.

 

(Lincoln-jm) – Hurricane Ian is on the way to the Florida Gulf Coast this week. While Central Illinois is almost a thousand miles away, local forecasters at the National Weather Service Office in Lincoln are still helping out with the forecasting. They are doing so by increasing the number of weather balloons they launch into the atmosphere. Each day, weather balloons are launched from various National Weather Service Offices twice a day around the world at the same time. In Central Illinois, that schedule normally is at 6a and 6p, but with doubling the number of balloons that will add a lunchtime launch and a midnight launch.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is offering rapid deployment training to local departments across the state. Both state and local law enforcement are usually first on the scene in an active shooter situation, and State Police Master Sergeant Joey Watson says they want to make sure everyone is in sync should that occur. So far 118 local officers have taken the train-the-trainer course and are certified to teach rapid deployment…

 

 

Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Joey Watson. Areas covered include firearms handling skills, clearing a room and basic tactical team movements.

 


(Paxton–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop downtown Paxton. Owner Andy Hudson says they are hosting flu clinics in Paxton and other areas ranging from Hoopeston to Buckley over the next several weeks…

 

 

Hudson says the flu season is unpredictable…

 

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop Owner Andy Hudson

You can hear more about Hudson Drug and Hallmark of Paxton in the Noon news today. 

 

(Undated-jm) – The price of gasoline in Illinois is on the rise. The average price of a gallon of gas in Illinois is at $3.97, up six cents from a week ago. According to AAA, the national average is now at $3.73 a gallon. The slight price hike is being blamed on refinery issues in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Hurricane Ian is not expected to impact gas prices unless the storm takes an unexpected path towards refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

 

(Springfield-jm) – At its most recent meeting, the Illinois House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force heard ideas for curbing gun crimes. Some groups proposed tougher gun laws. Kathleen Sances (san-sis), President of Gun Violence Prevention Pac, recommended updating the state’s FOID card process…

 

 

Gun Violence Prevention Pac President Kathleen Sances. Other suggestions ranged from a ban on assault weapons to a public awareness campaign on safe firearm storage. 2nd amendment rights advocates said more laws won’t stop gun violence and would likely be challenged in court

 

(Champaign-jm) – Habitat For Humanity of Champaign County is set to open its new ReStore this weekend after moving it to a new location. The ReStore is a home improvement resale shop that sells donated, gently-used furniture, appliances, cabinets, home accessories, building materials and more at discounted prices. Proceeds from the store provide funding for local home building efforts. The ReStore operated for more than a decade at 119 East University Avenue in downtown Champaign, but Habitat for Humanity is set to open a new location for the ReStore: 1914 Glenn Park Drive, a 25,000 square-foot former County Market. Although the grand opening will be Saturday, the new location is already accepting donations.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinoisans will be receiving tax rebates. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares how you can claim your rebate…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – An iconic bridge in Mahomet is set to temporarily close soon as crews begin repairs. The covered bridge at the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve will close to traffic on October 3, as crews replace the bridge’s roof. The bridge is planned to be closed for four days before reopening on October 7. The bridge will close again on October 10 before reopening again on October 14. The bridge will be shut down to vehicles, bikes and pedestrians while crews replace the roof. Portions of the Lake of the Woods bike trail and Trillium Drive will also be closed as a result of the project.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is holding open houses for seasonal employment. There are more than 25 hundred openings for snowplow drivers this winter through IDOT’s “snowbird program.” Spokesperson Paul Wappel says the positions are temporary but could lead to permanent employment. Here are the requirements…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The open houses are being held in several locations including Northbrook, Bloomington and the Quad Cities. More information about the snowbird program can be found online at: idot dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's Chief Economist recently offered his take on the farm economy, as well as farm income projections. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Illinois Department on Aging is reminding that some seniors may need to do a little legwork in order to receive their property tax rebate

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department on Aging is reminding that some seniors may need to do a little legwork in order to receive their property tax rebate. If you filed 2021 state income taxes, and claimed the property tax credit, you’re good to go so long as you meet the income guidelines. But if you weren’t required to file income taxes or haven’t done so yet, you will have to fill out a form in order to get your property tax rebate of up to $300 says Department on Aging Director Paula Basta…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. The I-L-10-40-P-T-R form is available on the website: my tax dot illinois dot gov and must be filed by October 17th.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced Monday the approval of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and Conservation Planning Assistance grant agreement. The IDOA/NRCS partnership leverages $3.5 million Illinois state NLRS funds with $9.8 million of federal funds from the USDA/NRCS to deliver over $13.3 million in new funding to support conservation planning and NLRS staffing and programming. The project will allow the addition of up to 40 conservation planners across Illinois.

 

(Fisher–jc)  Village of Fisher leaders have been looking at ways to improve garbage pick up in town and to also keep the alleyways driveable. Fisher Mayor Mike Bayler says they are putting down a higher grade of rock in the alleys to see if that process will help keep the alleys clear and driveable…

 

 

Fisher Mayor Mike Bayler

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in finding a burglary suspect who used a unique mask to hide his identity. Officials said the suspect wore a Ghostface mask from the Scream franchise while committing the burglary. During the overnight hours of September 17, the suspect broke into a restricted area of Midwest Underground Technology, Inc., located at 2626 Midwest Court in Champaign. Once inside, he cut the locks off several work trailers and stole tools and equipment stored inside. The suspect then used one of the company’s John Deere Gator carts to flee the scene. The total amount of the stolen equipment is estimated at $30,000.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Illinois is giving out $371 million in COVID funds to small communities around the state. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at who is receiving funding in Iroquois County…

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after he was caught delivering methamphetamine last year. Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy said Jermaine McQueen was caught during an investigation by the Vermilion Metropolitan Enforcement Group in the summer of 2021. In August of that year, VMEG personnel pulled McQueen over and found over 20 grams of meth in his possession. He was in the process of delivering that meth to someone else when he was arrested.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest weekly crop report. There were nearly six days suitable for fieldwork this past week, helping harvest get underway. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 81 percent of corn acres have reached the dent stage…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 63 percent of soybeans are dropping leaves and two percent of the crop has been harvested. One percent of winter wheat has been planted and average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent very short, 10 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

 

(Paxton–jc)  An on line police sting operation continues in one local police department. Paxton police continue to target child predators as the program has netted 11 arrests so far. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says officer Trevor Norris also received a special commendation from the city for work with the operation…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

The operation continues  A similar program in Livingston County has netted 40 predators.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The fall trout season opens next month in Illinois. Several bodies of water are stocked with over 80 thousand rainbow trout each spring and fall by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The fall season kicks off mid-October and Assistant Chief of Fisheries Kevin Irons says it’s a great opportunity for the whole family. Here’s the details…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Assistant Chief of Fisheries Kevin Irons.  Nine sites will offer catch and release fishing beginning October 1st. You can find a list of locations online at: i fish illinois dot org.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced reduced fees for account owners in a program that allows people with disabilities to save their own money for disability-related expenses. Annual account maintenance fees were lowered by approximately 25 percent for Illinois Achieving a Better Life Experience account owners who receive their statements electronically. Program management fees were also reduced an average of 6 percent. The lower fees are the result of a new contract between the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer and Ascensus College Savings, the program manager.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There was a new report released on the state’s pension system. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares what the report says…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Firefighters from several towns in the Champaign-Urbana area were called to a house on Danbury Drive on Monday to battle a two-alarm fire. 

Champaign, Savoy and Bondville firefighters battling a fire that had large flames and heavy smoke coming from the roof of the home. The fire was eventually extinguished, revealing the garage roof had collapsed along with extensive damage to the side of the home’s second floor.

 

(Rantoul–jc) –  The Community Service Center based in Rantoul also serves as a food pantry Monday through Friday. Executive Director Cindy Crawford says the pantry is open to not only Rantoul residents but those living in Champaign County…

 

 

Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford.

 

(Champaign-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker has filed legislation to clarify language in the SAFE-T Act. State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign filed Senate Bill 4228, on Monday, which focuses on updating provisions in the SAFE-T Act by clarifying language to address concerns raised by local law enforcement officials. Sen. Bennett’s legislation states pretrial release will apply to individuals arrested on or after January 1, 2023. The measure also permits judges to deny pretrial release for any alleged crime if the person arrested poses a threat to the safety of any person or the community.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest weekly crop report. Nearly half of the Illinois corn crop is now mature and six percent has been harvested. That compares to 16 percent normally at this time of year. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 63 percent of soybeans are dropping leaves…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. One percent of winter wheat has been planted. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 11 percent very short, 10 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

 

The City of Paxton is holdng brush pick up this week.

Secretary of State Jesse White's Office is touting the success of a program designed to catch those driving without car insurance

(Springfield-jm) – Governor Pritzker announced on Friday a letter of intent alongside Taiwanese leaders and dignitaries for the sale of approximately $2 billion of Illinois soybeans and $600 million of Illinois corn over the next two years. Officials said the agreement will follow a 2019 two-year agreement for over $2.2 billion in crop sales. The intended sales will take place over 2023 and 2024.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is touting the success of a program designed to catch those driving without car insurance. The electronic automobile insurance verification system runs a random check twice a year to ensure Illinois drivers have a policy as required by law, says Secretary White’s Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt says since the program began 14 months ago, the number of registered vehicles without a verified insurance policy dropped from 12.7 percent to just under 7 percent.

 

(Urbana-jm) – More learning spaces and offices are coming to Campustown. It’s to make sure the increasing number of students have a place to learn. For now, the Gies College of Business is calling the new building the “South Campus Center for Interdisciplinary Learning” , and it will soon call part of Gregory Drive home. It’ll go between the Business Instructional Facility and Huff Hall in the E-12 parking lot. The college is excited to expand, and the parking department said they’re ready to adjust to losing one lot. They will build a new parking garage near Memorial Stadium. The new building is a $105 million project and the University is paying for 40% and Gies the other 60%.

 

(Rantoul–jc) A grant for upgrades at Heritage Lake in the village of Rantoul will have to wait until next year. The state changed the grant process from full grants to a 50 percent local match for this year. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the village board voted to wait until 20-23 for a similar grant and hope the state can fully fund it…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – Hoopeston police and fire officials are investigating a house fire. Crews were called to the fire last week on Thompson Road. A man died in the house, unrelated to the fire.

 

(Washington-jm) – The conflict in Ukraine is increasing our nation's awareness of the importance of food security and farm policy, according to a senior USDA official. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the Illinois State Department of Human Services a total of $37,195,746 in federal funding. U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth made the announcement on Friday stating the funding will be provided through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration State Opioid Response and Tribal Opioid Response grant programs and the Health Resources and Services Administration Rural Communities Opioid Response Program.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Jobs were up and unemployment rates were down in all 14 metro areas last month. Each metro area saw a drop in the unemployment level compared to one year ago says Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. The number of jobs increased as well…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. Industries with the most over the year growth include mining and construction, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing. Locally, Champaign Counties rate fell from 5.4 percent to 4.4 percent. Ford Counties fell from 4.9 percent to 4.4 percent. Vermilion Counties fell from 6.8 percent to 5.7 percent. Iroquois Counties fell from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Nearly 100 Champaign-Urbana Public Health District have come together with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31 to form a union. According to an AFSCME press release, members say they’re fighting for fair pay, transparency, and equal opportunities. 

The union, CUPHD United, was announced Friday in a public letter signed by members of the organizing committee.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – City of Paxton leaders are looking to change some language in the cities confiscated vehicle ordinance when they meet in October. The issue came before the board this month. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the board is looking to close up on how these vehicles are handled by the city…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A small fire happened earlier today at the U of I Dance Studio. The Urbana Fire Department confirmed the fire may have started on the outside of the building. They were able to put it out quickly. U of I Dance Studio is located on 905 W. Nevada.

 

(Washington-jm) – Beef industry analysts may be surprised at what they see in USDA's latest report on cattle feedlot activity. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Millions of Illinois residents are expected to receive an income tax rebate from the state over the next several weeks

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court is siding with Comptroller Susana Mendoza in a case where two lawmakers sued for back pay. The court said that former Senators Mike Noland and James Clayborne, and subsequently the rest of the legislature, can’t get the pay raises they previously forfeited. Comptroller Mendoza is pleased with the ruling…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza says the decision is saving taxpayers at least 10 million dollars.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Last month, President Joe Biden announced his administration was forgiving billions in federal student loans. Now the White House has calculated the number of people who could benefit from it. The White House estimates around 1,486,600 Illinoisans would be able to take advantage of the student loan forgiveness proposal. According to the most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 12,671,469 people lived in Illinois in July 2021.  This would mean 11.73% of all Illinoisans could be eligible for getting $10,000 of student loans forgiven. Additionally, 863,600 Pell Grant recipients in Illinois will get $20,000 of their loans forgiven. Across the United States, more than 40 million are eligible for Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – An area school is collecting 5 gallon buckets to be filled with supplies for each classroom in case of a lockdown situation. Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson says they need several donations…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City and Ford County leaders are meeting today to discuss how to quickly resolve the property tax bill debacle. 1,800 homes and businesses were sent inflated tax bills following a clerical error. Gibson City leaders are pushing the county to correct the inflated payments by subtracting the overpayments from the second installment that is due in November. County officials say it likely won’t happen before the end of the year, meaning residents wouldn’t see a reimbursement until 2023.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Area Down Syndrome Walk will take place this Sunday from 12-2. Spokesperson Darla Shall says there is a full slate of activities…

 

 

Paxton Area Down Syndrome Walk Spokesperson Darla Shall. Again the walk takes place this Sunday from 12-2 at PBL High School.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Illinois State Police is awarding $1 million in grants to 32 local law enforcement agencies across Illinois.  The grant money will be used to conduct firearm enforcement efforts to help keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a significant threat to themselves or others. The Champaign Police Department along with Kankakee Police Department are among the recipients.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign attorney has had his license suspended indefinitely by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Brian Sides' license was suspended by the Commission after making false statements about the integrity of a federal bankruptcy judge in nine motions filed in the bankruptcy or federal district court. The State Supreme Court will decide in the future if Sides will get his license back.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Ropps Flower Factory in Gibson City, Paxton and Mahomet. Owner Roger Cramer says fall is mums time and they have all types of mums in all colors…

 

 

Cramer says they are open 7 days a week at their locations in Gibson City Mahomet and Paxton…

 

 

Ropps Flower Factory Owner Roger Cramer. We have an interview with Roger Cramer during our noon news today 

 

(Washington-jm) – Food price inflation is continuing, but there are some bits of good news in the latest government inflation report. Gary Crawford reports…

 


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security will use a new federal grant to address equity gaps in the state’s unemployment insurance program. The six point eight million dollar grant will help the agency make the unemployment system more accessible says Director Kristin Richards…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Kristin Richards. Richards says the goal is to make sure all eligible individuals get the benefits they need.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Millions of Illinois residents are expected to receive an income tax rebate from the state over the next several weeks. But do you qualify, and when might that be coming? Illinois lawmakers and leaders announced the first wave of tax rebate checks were mailed out September 12 as part of The Family Relief Act is a one-time, $1.8 billion plan. State officials say the rebate payments could take at least eight weeks to be issued in total. For the income tax rebate: Individuals who made less than $200,000 in 2021 and are not claimed as a dependent on another return will receive $50 rebates. Couples filing jointly with incomes under $400,000 will receive $100. Tax return filers will also receive $100 per dependent they claimed on their 2021 taxes, up to three dependents. The State of Illinois is also providing property tax rebates for eligible homeowners in an amount equal to the property tax credit they qualified for on their 2021 returns, up to a maximum of $300.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois is making its Facilities and Services Department a little greener with the addition of two electric trucks to its fleet. The Ford F-150 Lightning is a relatively new model, the first rolling off the assembly line in April. The two trucks that the U of I will receive are among the first to be delivered in the region. One of the trucks will be used to move tradespeople like carpenters and plumbers to their job sites on campus. It will also be used to move equipment, with power outlets in both the bed and cabin. The other truck will be used by professionals at Abbott Power Plant to support daily plant operations. It will replace a gas-powered truck currently in use. 

 

(Ford County-jm) – Illinois is giving out $371 million in COVID funds to small communities around the state. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at who is receiving funding in Ford County…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois System Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a $7.65 billion operating budget for the current academic year that prioritizes the commitment to student affordability and access. The new budget provides a second consecutive year of increased financial support for the three system universities and is 6.5 percent larger than last year’s $7.18 billion operating budget. General operating funds of $2.63 billion are made up primarily of state appropriations and tuition and fees and will support academic, research, economic development and public-service activities. This funding will increase 5.2 percent over the last fiscal year. The remaining $3.54 billion is made up primarily of funding for the university hospital, employee benefits and other restricted funds. The operating budget, which is for the fiscal year that runs through June 2023, includes a $669.4 million state appropriation, an increase of 4.9 percent.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Next year may bring a cutback in U.S. beef production. Gary Crawford reports…

 


The Village of Buckley is having townwide garage sales to and tomorrow.

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank is distributing food to area families facing food insecurity. The distribution will be held at McFerren Park Civic Center in Hoopeston on Saturday from 9:30 – 10:30am.

 

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

 

The 54th Annual Apple ‘n Pork Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm, at the C.H. Moore Homestead DeWitt County Museum in Clinton


 

Restaurants across the nation are understaffed with no signs of relief

(Springfield-jm) – Restaurants across the nation are understaffed with no signs of relief, and Illinois is no exception. Illinois Restaurant Association president and CEO Sam Toia says that, although restaurants are doing what they can to keep their head above water, they are still going through the thick of it. Toia recently received data from the National Restaurant Association that shows Illinois restaurants are currently understaffed with 57% of operators saying their restaurant is greater than 10% below necessary staffing levels and 19% of operators are currently greater than 20% below necessary staffing levels. 87% of Illinois operators say the restaurants are less profitable now than they were in 2019. And at 75% of operation, a restaurant currently does not have enough employees to support its existing customer demand,

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Lottery is announcing record returns during this past fiscal year. The lottery posted returns of 834 million dollars to the state, profiting several areas says Director Harold Mays…

 

 

Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays. Mays says Illinois lottery players were also winners, with 72 new millionaires made in fiscal year 22. More than two point two billion dollars in prizes were paid out overall.

 

(Thomasboro-jm) – Thomasboro Grade School was on lockdown while police investigated the arrest of a woman with a gun at a park near the school. Brittany Baker was arrested at West Side Park. She is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

 

(Paxton-jm) – A Down’s Syndrome Awareness Walk will happen in Paxton this Sunday. The group has been a part of the Champaign Area Down Syndrome Awareness Walk before starting one up here says Spokesperson Darla Shall…

 

 

Paxton Area Down Syndrome Awareness Walk Spokesperson Darla Shall. The walk again takes place Sunday from 12-2 at PBL High School.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man is facing charges after police said he was involved in the theft of a car from the University of Illinois Campus. Two weeks ago, a U of I employee reported his car was missing from Parking Lot E-14, located across the street from State Farm Center. Using surveillance footage and data from automated license plate readers, U of I Police investigators identified Jonathan Sarolas, 34, as a suspect. They said Sarolas left the car in the possession of another person and also pawned off a piece of jewelry from the stolen car. Officers obtained a search warrant for Sarolas’ home and arrested him there. They found inside the home ammunition, methamphetamine and materials typically used to package drugs for sale. The car has not been located.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –The bike paths summer project will be completed over the next week in the village of Rantoul. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says grant money helped with the new bike paths that help transportation and trips to local schools in the village…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Paxton–jc The WPXN business of the day is PRIDE in Paxton. PRIDE in Paxton is a local group that was chosen by the state of Illinois to help to rebuild, maintain and grow small towns and cities across the state of Illinois. The Paxton group was one of the first 13 chosen as a Mainstreet City in 1993 and was issued as a resource to revitalize the city's downtown area along with other portions of Paxton. PRIDE in Paxton President Teri Hancock says Paxton continues to be a Mainstreet city…

 

 

PRIDE in Paxton President Teri Hancock

 

Currently the group has just started fund raising for a new state of the art downtown speaker and safety system for Paxton. The project goal is 120 thousand dollars. PRIDE is hosting a queen of hearts fundraiser each Wednesday at the Pueblo Lindo in Paxton says PRIDE board member Dawn Glad…

 

 

PRIDE in Paxton Board Member Dawn Glad

 

(Springfield-jm) – Jobs continue to pour out of pro-union states like Illinois and into states with more free-market policies, a report based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. Right-to-work states have added 1.3 million jobs since 2020, while non-Right-to-Work states lost 1.1 million jobs, according to a study by economist Todd Nesbit and public policy analyst Michael LaFaive. Right-to-Work laws bar the termination of an employee for refusal to pay union dues if they don't want to. Illinois recently lost major companies like Caterpillar and Boeing to right-to-work states.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The winners of the over one billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot have come forward. It took about eight weeks for the claimants to present themselves, which is pretty typical when you’re dealing with this amount of money says Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays…

 

 

Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays. The prize was claimed by a partnership and members wish to remain anonymous. They opted to take the lump sum payment of more than 780 million dollars. This was the largest lottery jackpot in state history.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man will spend eight years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted enticement of a minor. Ozgur Kurt was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Court documents showed that in 2020, Kurt engaged in sexually-graphic online conversations with someone he believed was a 15-year-old minor. On September 1, 2020, he arrived at a Champaign restaurant to pick up this supposed minor for sexual contact, but was arrested by FBI agents. Kurt was indicted on a single charge he pleaded guilty to earlier this year. He has been in custody ever since his arrest. In addition to the jail time, Kurt will spend five years on parole after his release and was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine by the judge.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There will be several issues that will be on the mind of voters when they head to the polls in November and on the minds of politicians when they return to the state capital for the fall veto session after the election. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about some of those issues…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Watseka-jm) – The Iroquois County Public Health Department announced on Wednesday that it now has flu vaccines available to administer. The quadrivalent vaccines, capable of protecting against four strains of flu, will be available to anyone six months of age and older. People wanting their children under the age of 18 to get a shot are asked to make an appointment by calling 815-432-2483 and must be present for their child’s vaccination. Anyone older than 18 can schedule an appointment for themselves, but may also walk in. Shots will be administered from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Regular vaccines cost $35 while high-dose vaccines for those 65 and older will cost $70. However, insurance will cover this cost and the department said it can directly bill Medicare, Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, Health Alliance, HealthLink, Cigna and United Healthcare. A receipt will be provided to enable those with other insurance companies to receive reimbursement.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – Work on the Paxton Streetscape program continues over the next month. With the streets complete for several areas in the downtown of Paxton, new light poles and a vintage style clock are the next improvements, says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is joining dozens of other attorneys generals to push for more restrictions on robocalls

(Springfield-jm) – A voter opinion poll compiled for Republican Darren Bailey’s campaign shows Governor J.B. Pritzker with a lead, but not as large as four years ago. A survey done September 8-10 found Pritzker leading with 44% to Bailey’s 37%. Libertarian Scott Schluter was a distant third with 8%. In 2018, Pritzker defeated Republican Governor Bruce Rauner by a margin of 55% to 39%.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Fall Prevention Week and the Illinois Department on Aging has some tips to help keep seniors safe. You want to make sure there are no tripping hazards at home like throw rugs, loose carpet, wires or cords. Additionally, State Department on Aging Director Paula Basta says there are modifications you can make in the bathroom…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. Basta says lighting is also critical and urges seniors to have a lamp or light switch within easy reach of their bed and use nightlights in the bathroom and hallways.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Several businesses in the downtown area of Paxton are doing upgrades on their business property as the city sees the enhancement in the downtown part of Paxton with the on-going streetscape project. Building facade and other improvements are coming for Kief Realty, The Paxton Arcade and Banquet facility, and the former bowling alley property. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says another redevelopment agreement has been made with a downtown property and a new business called The Krog…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking the public for assistance in tracking down a pair of thieves. The crime happened on Aug. 16 at Champaign’s Walmart, located at 2610 North Prospect Avenue. Officials said two men walked into the store and stole over $500 worth of merchandise, concealing the stolen items in a tote and then leaving without paying. They drove away in a white GMC truck. The suspects are described as being Black and 40-50 years of age. One was wearing an orange sleeveless t-shirt adorned with an A+ Mechanicals, LLC logo and was also wearing grey shorts. The other was wearing a tan hat, black t-shirt and blue jean shorts.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana area will be receiving $150,000 in grants. Champaign-Urbana funds will go towards regional market analysis that focuses on office, retail and industrial spaces in the area. Champaign County will receive grants that will be used to help local governments and economic development organizations develop and create plans to foster relationships with businesses.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul Township High School is collecting 5 gallon buckets. Principal Todd Wilson says the buckets will be filled with supplies, kept in each classroom, in the case of a lockdown situation…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana has set the leaf collection dates for this fall. The dates include the week of October 31 – November 4, November 14 – 18, and November 28 – December 2. Leaves must be placed in 30-gallon paper lawn & garden bags and set at the street curb or right-of-way before 6:00 a.m. on your scheduled U-Cycle collection day. Only leaves and non-woody plant materials are accepted in the leaf collection program. Branches, tree limbs or brush are not accepted.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois student is facing a charge of criminal damage to state property after a residence hall on campus was vandalized. Officers said they arrested William Turk, 18, in connection to the vandalism. A University Housing employee reported to police that 23 ceiling-mounted exit signs and six fire extinguishers had been stolen from three floors of Scott Hall. The theft of the signs left wires exposed and damaged the ceiling. In addition, several bathroom soap dispensers were torn off the walls.  The total value of the damage is estimated between $5,000 and $10,000.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  Todays WPXN business of the day is the Horsch Radish Restaurant in downtown Gibson City. Co-Owner Sam Horsch says they wanted to re-purpose the space of the former Bayrn Strube and after much consideration, they are placing a new German style restaurant in the building on Sangamon called Horsch Radish…

 

 

He also says the restaurant has been open since early August, but a grand opening is set for Friday…

 

 

Horsch Radish Restaurant Co-Owner Sam Horsch. The Horsch Radish has a grand opening set for Friday with menu specials music and more. You can also hear more about the new downtown Gibson Cty Restaurant during the noon news block today.

 

(Washington-jm) – Agricultural export values are accounting for a growing share of total U.S. export sales of all products. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is joining dozens of other attorneys generals to push for more restrictions on robocalls. Raoul joined the coalition of 51 other attorneys general calling on the Federal Communications Commission to require telephone providers that route calls across the United States telephone network to implement more rigorous measures to prevent illegal and fraudulent robocalls. Illinois robocalls cost residents approximately $13.5 billion every year, according to the coalition.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Representative Napoleon Harris, a former NFL player, is discussing the importance of concussion awareness. Representative Harris of Harvey played for the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs, suffering multiple concussions along the way. He says it’s important to know the signs…

 

 

State Representative Napoleon Harris. Harris reminds that a concussion can come from an accident at home, not just during sports. He says it’s encouraging to see more precautions being taken in youth sports such as having no tackle days and running through concussion protocols after a hard hit.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Wine and Chocolate Walk will return again this year. President Austin Curtis talks about this year’s event…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis.

 

(LeRoy-jm) – It’s Official,  The National Weather Service reported a EF-0 tornado touched down in parts of LeRoy Monday night. According to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, the tornado was classified at its lowest level, considered to be weak, reaching wind speeds up to 85 mph. The National Weather Service reports the tornado entered the southwest part of LeRoy and knocked a power pole and a tree into mobile homes in the area. Other damages reported included minor tree damages, branches knocked down, partial roof damage to two duplexes and two semis tipped over on I-74.  

 

(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County will experience a few technological updates that will keep residents in-touch with their ancestors for generations. The Vermilion County Board agreed to use some of the ARPA funds on updating the museum to bring more technology to the historic building. They will create and design a database where all you have to do is type a name you're searching for, and all of that information will appear on a huge touch-screen device.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state auditor general recently released a report on the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s handling of the COVID unemployment crisis. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares the results of that report…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Bloomington-jm) – The 28th annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk returns to Bloomington. During the event, over twenty professional actors will impersonate various McLean County historical figures near their burial site. They will tell their stories while informing visitors about county’s rich history. This year’s in-person cemetery walk is scheduled on September 24-25 and October 1-2 with performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. each day.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Park District has announced the 2022-2023 Arthouse Experience film series. Illinois Public Media will partner with the Virginia Theatre to present the series of films. The specially-curated selection of monthly art film screenings along with regionally-produced documentaries will also include special guest speakers and additional programming. Each film will be followed by a post-show discussion, and in some cases, an on-stage talk by directors, producers, and other special guests. General admission tickets cost $7 apiece for each film at the Virginia Theatre box office.

 

(Washington-jm) – Will the trends we are seeing now in the pork industry continue into 2023? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

This is Rail Safety Week in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – This is Rail Safety Week in Illinois. Last year there were 101 vehicle crashes at rail crossings, killing 24 people. Brian Vercruysee (ver-a-cruise) with the Illinois Commerce Commission says they are stressing the dangers these areas present and the need to really pay attention as you approach a crossing. That means put the phone down, take the ear buds out and follow the law…

 

 

Illinois Commerce Commission’s Brian Vercruysee. The I-C-C also reminds not to walk on train tracks and to always expect a train at a crossing as schedules often vary.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Positive economic development continues on the village of Rantoul’s west side near the nearly 2 year old sports complex. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says a developer will be starting on site very soon with 5 new buildings and a new hotel in that area.

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Petition packets for the consolidated election can be picked up starting today. The consolidated election will be held April 4, 2023 and will include mayoral and school board races. Packets can be filed December 12-19th.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Several new businesses are set to open by fall in the downtown area of Paxton. A major retailer returns, Amazon type store is set to open this fall in the former Jeff’s Custom Exhaust building, says Paxxton Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Search and Rescue Team will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this Saturday. The group will hold an open house on Saturday from 10-1 at ILEAS in Urbana.

 

(Undated-jm) – Beginning today, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will host 40 international buyers from seven different Latin American countries in an effort to increase export sales for the Illinois grain industry. For the past two years, the Grain Tour has been held virtually due to COVID-19. Despite the lack of in-person tours in 2020 and 2021, over $20 million in projected sales were recorded from the virtual tours. The tour will make several stops around the state, including in Decatur, Joliet, and Chicago.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The latest Illinois crop report finds corn harvesting just getting underway in a few areas. 77 percent of corn is in the dent stage and 27 percent is now mature says Crop Statistician Steve Parn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. 41 percent of soybean acres are dropping leaves and 67 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 83 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 10 percent very short, 14 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Paxton Hardware and Rental.  New for a time is a delivery service to residents of the Gibson City area. Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen says with the recent downtown fire, he was looking for a way to help fill the void with a delivery service…

 


Traeger grills are a popular item for customers at Paxton Hardware and Rental. Owner Scott Allen says Lisa Allen is trained on Traeger Grills and will be offering some cooking classes ranging from ribs to pizza…

 

 

Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This year’s Illinois State Fair set some new records. Nearly 637 thousand people visited the state fair in Springfield last month, an all time record says Spokesperson Krista Lisser. She says the gorgeous weather was a big factor…

 

 

Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Grandstand concert sales also set a record, with two point three million dollars coming in for nine shows during the fair. Lisser says it’s estimated the fair generated about six point four million dollars in total revenue.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The landscape in the downtown area of Paxton is changing. City leaders have been working with several businesses on re-development agreements, ranging from facade improvements, new signs and other upgrades. The former Paxton Bowling Alley has been demolished and two other buildings in the area are being re-developed says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…

 


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Greater Champaign Urbana Economic Partnership is receiving $150,000. It’s part of a $3.5 million initiative from the state to promote economic development in downtown areas. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – With the election coming up in early November, Republican lawmakers are saying the election could have major impacts on the state. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says elections have consequences…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Country Music artist Cody Johnson will be coming to Champaign in March. Johnson’s tour is coming to the State Farm Center on March 25th. Randy Houser will open. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 30th at 10 am.

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Clara Petersen Pit Crew is the latest not for profit to benefit from the Paxton IGA Charitable Rebate program. The store has given 1 thousand dollars to the group. The Clara Petersen Pit Crew is the 54th organization to receive the money from the Paxton IGA for collecting 200 thousand dollars in IGA receipts The program started in September of 2009

 

(Springfield-jm) – The latest Illinois crop report finds corn harvesting just getting underway in a few areas. With 27 percent of corn mature, just two percent has been harvested so far. That compares to the usual seven percent at this time of year. Crop Statistician Steve Parn looks at soybeans…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 83 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 10 percent very short, 14 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.
 

Sunday kicked off National Farm Safety and Health Week

(Chicago-jm) – Vice President Kamala Harris was in Chicago Friday for a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights with Governor J-B Pritzker and other stakeholders. The Vice President said everything must be done to protect a woman’s right to choose, and praised Illinois officials for offering a beacon of hope to women from other states. During opening remarks, Governor Pritzker said this will continue…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Others at the roundtable meeting said they are working to make sure patients understand their rights in Illinois and to provide emotional and financial support to women seeking an abortion. The medical director of a Chicago abortion care facility said ever since Roe was struck down, their phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

 

(Paxton-jm) – An iconic Paxton building will be rebuilt. Dr. Jeff Grove and his brother John announced during Paxton’s Swine n Dine Saturday they intend to rebuild the Paxton Majestic Theatre at the site of the former bowling alley. The theater burned down in 2007.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton emergency crews responded to a pair of accidents over the weekend. The first one occurred late Friday afternoon on Route 45 at 200 north about a mile south of Paxton around 5:30 pm. Then around 10 pm, crews were called to a person struck by a vehicle while walking near the intersection of Patton and Taft. The road was closed for several hours while crews investigated.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A new free saliva-based COVID testing site is opening up in Urbana. Starting today, SHIELD Illinois will begin offering COVID-19 tests to the public at the University of Illinois’ Campus Recreation Center East. The free testing is made possible through federal funding from the CARESand American Rescue Plan Acts in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health and SHIELD Illinois. Testing will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and parking is free at marked metered spaces along Dorner Drive. The public should enter the east entrance of the CRCE which faces Allen Hall. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  A new business opened in the downtown area of Paxton on Friday afternoon. The new business is called The Paxton Mercantile Company. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the Grove family has remodeled the property for the new downtown business…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

The Paxton Mercantile Company is one of several new businesses set for the downtown area of Paxton.


 

(St. Joseph-jm) – A new business is coming to a long-standing building in downtown St. Joseph. The village board voted to approve the sale of the one-time village hall, village jail, and scout building. The winning bid came in at $10,000, just half the appraised value. The owner of Roch’s Place, bought the historic building.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Sunday kicked off National Farm Safety and Health Week. Harvest season is beginning and the Illinois Department of Agriculture wants everyone to be cautious around heavy farm equipment entering and leaving the roads says Spokesperson Krista Lisser…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Lisser says they also urge farmers to take care of themselves during this busy time, making sure they get enough rest and eating well. Statistics show that farming continues to be one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Most accidents occur when a tractor overturns.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN business of the day is the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber spokesperson Alan Meyer says after a successful Swine and Dine on Saturday, the next event is on Saturday October First with the Wine and Chocolate Walk. Meyer says tickets are available and you can use several modes of transportation with the event…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting strong demand for the new COVID-19 booster shot. There’s widespread availability of the booster which covers the original strain of the virus plus the Omicron variant. State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey says they are encouraged that in just the first two weeks, over 188 thousand people have received the shot…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. 66 Illinois counties are currently at an elevated risk for transmission of the virus, with more than 17 thousand new cases and 74 additional deaths reported over the past week.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign firefighters responded to a pair of fires over the weekend. First they responded to a building fire Friday afternoon. In a press release, officials said the fire was in the gas vault of EpiWorks at 1606 Rion Drive. The fire caused crews to evacuate a nearby hotel and school. Then Sunday morning crews responded to a vacant house fire at 1803 Scottsdale Drive. One firefighter was injured. That fire remains under investigation.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police are investigating a pair of weekend shootings. A teen was shot Friday evening walking near West Springfield Avenue and Kenwood Road. Champaign Police arrived and found a 16-year-old with several non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to his legs. The teen was walking near Springfield Avenue when another male started following him, officials said. The shooter shot the teen and then ran away. Officials said the person who shot the teen also damaged a nearby building due to the shooting. Then around 7:15 Saturday evening police were called to 1300 block of Bloomington Road for a report of a car accident and shots fired. A short time later a 22 year old male showed up at the hospital with a non life threatening gunshot wound to his arm.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – An area school is looking to collect 5 gallon buckets. Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson talks about why they want the buckets…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson.

 

(Ogden-jm) – A ribbon cutting was held to open the next portion of the Kickapoo rail trail. The ribbon cutting was in Ogden and now expands from Ogden to Urbana. Once completed it will go all the way to Danville. Funding was supported by a $949,430 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program and $118,678.75 in State of Illinois grant match.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  Grants from the state of Illinois are helping the village of Rantoul with new bike and walk paths in the village. Those traveling down Maplewood Avenue can see the new paths as work continues, says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Sunday kicked off National Farm Safety and Health Week. Drivers are urged to watch for heavy farm machinery on the roads this fall as harvesting gets underway, giving them plenty of room and being patient, says Illinois Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Krista Lisser…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Tractors overturning are the leading cause of injuries and death among farmers. The State Department of Agriculture will be hi-liting different safety and health topics all week on the agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

(Paxton–-jc)  – Today’s Business of the Day is the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce. Paxton Chamber Spokesperson Alan Meyer says one positive about small town businesses is service, even after hours…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer. 

The chamber held another successful Swine and Dine on Saturday in the city, Next up is a Wine and Chocolate Walk on Saturday October First. Tickets are available for that event. 

Republicans in the state are criticizing Governor J-B Pritzker's approach to the upcoming election

(Gilman-jm) – Classes are back in session today for students in the Iroquois West school district after a man wanted for a sexual assault was captured. Law enforcement officers from several agencies canvassed the area Thursday looking for Joel Smith. Smith fled from police Wednesday after they were called to the Amtrak station in Gilman after he allegedly assaulted a girl on the train. Smith was spotted by employees at K and H but fled before officers could arrive. He was arrested around 11pm last night.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Comptroller Susana Mendoza is touting major improvements in the state’s finances. Comptroller Mendoza spoke to the City Club of Chicago this week, noting the state’s bill backlog has been eliminated and the rainy day fund now holds more than one billion dollars, a record amount…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza says it now takes less than 30 days for the state to pay a bill, down from a high of about nine and a half months. Additionally, the state has received six credit rating upgrades.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A Circuit Court Judge in Vermillion County announced her retirement at the end of the month. Judge Nancy Fahey announced she will retire on September 30th. Fahey has been on the court in the Fifth Judicial Circuit since 2006. She presided over more than 100 trials in her years at the Circuit Court, with more than half of her time in the criminal felony courts.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Republicans in the state are criticizing Governor J-B Pritzker’s approach to the upcoming election. The GOP, like 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington say Pritzker is trying to buy votes with his stimulus checks hitting bank accounts soon…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Planned Parenthood of Illinois is announcing the expansion of abortion care options at its existing Champaign Health Center, 302 E. Stoughton. 

Planned Parenthood has renovated the health center to add in-clinic abortion services for the first time to its options for patients. The Champaign expansion is doubling in-clinic abortion access for Central Illinois and is providing abortion care options in closer proximity to people traveling from Indiana and southwest Ohio. Currently, 11 percent of the abortion patients seen at the Champaign health center are from Indiana. This number is expected to increase now that the Indiana abortion ban is in effect.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Voters head to the polls in just about 2 months on November 8th. There are several offices up and as 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there’s a lot at stake in this election…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Pesotum-jm) – Illinois State Police District 10 K9 Odin has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.  K9 Odin’s vest was sponsored by Don and Misty Fike of Galesburg, IL and embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love-Trained to Serve-Loyal Always”.

 

(Roberts–jc) –One local charity group is set to host a “free” produce pantry in Ford County later this month.Jeremiah 33-6 is a not for profit that provides health education in rural Central Illinois says President and Founder Valerie Wright… 

 

 

Jeremiah 33-6 President Valarie Wright. The group is hosting the produce pantry on Thursday September 29th from 3-30 to 5-30 at the Roberts Village Gym in Roberts. Wright says all are welcome

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is The Paxton Masonic Lodge 416. Group President Jim Sherl says the local lodge is a faith based group that looks to serve the community…

 

 

Paxton Masonic Lodge President Jim Sherl

The group has a giveaway set for 2pm tomorrow during the Paxton Swine and Dine. The grand prize is a trip to New York City to see 2 live Broadway Shows and a 5 day stay in New York City. The group uses the monies raised for local charities.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The first in-person Illinois grain tour in two years kicks off next week. Previous tours were virtual due to the pandemic, but now 40 international buyers from seven Latin American counties are coming to the state, says Illinois Department of Agriculture Marketing Chief Jackie Sambursky…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture Marketing Chief Jackie Sambursky. The tour will make stops at several locations including ADM in Decatur, RTS Farm in Assumption, the Illinois Soybean Association and the DeLong Company in Joliet.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been arrested for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. Gene T. Gunn, 39, was arrested at his home in Champaign. Police say the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force obtained a search warrant for the home as a result of an investigation into suspected drug activity. The Task Force found 192 grams of cocaine and accessories associated with the sale of narcotics.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Some state retirees could be seeing changes to their health insurance. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The annual Books to Prisoners book sale returns to Urbana on October 8. After a two-year hiatus, the one-day sale will fill the first floor of the Independent Media Center, featuring a wide selection of books in all genres like fiction, children’s and young adult. The sale is a critical fundraiser for Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners, a non-profit working group of the Independent Media Center. All book sales will support the group’s mission to provide free books to incarcerated people in Illinois while also promoting education in the Urbana-Champaign community about incarceration and prisons. Since its beginning in 2004, the organization has sent 170,489 books to 23,423 incarcerated individuals.

 

(Woodworth–jc)  –  A group called Save Your Farm Legacy Now is hosting a free informational meeting on how to keep your family farm in the family. The event is set for November 16 near Woodworth in Southern Iroquois County. The venue is the Barn Event Center along route 49 just west of Woodworth.  Save Your Farm Legacy Now Spokesperson Cheryl Mitchell say sstarting the conversation about the future of the family farm is key…

 

 

Save Your Farm Legacy Spokesperson Cheryl Mitchell. Anyone interested in attending the event may find out information by contacting Mitchell at 217-369-0637 or cheryl-b-mitchell-dot-com.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  –  The Gibson City Police Department and the Paxton Police Department conducted a search warrant at a residence in Gibson City on Wednesday Arrested were, Brittany Dearman, age 32, was charged with methamphetamine delivery (Class X felony) and possession of methamphetamine (Class 1 felony). Kody Rangel, age 31, was charged with probation violation (Class 4 felony) and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A misdemeanor). While executing the search warrant the following was seized: approximately 36 grams of suspected methamphetamine, a scale and several pieces of drug paraphernalia. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

(Paxton–jc) 75 thousand dollars, that is the money raised by  Team Hope for awareness and a potential cure for Huntington’s disease. The Paxton based group held a walk, golf tournament, silent auction and dinner at Lakeview Country Club in Loda this past Saturday. Team Hope Spokesperson Samantha Cox says the support from the area was absolutely amazing…

 

 

Team Hope-Huntington’s Disease spokesperson Samantha Cox. Cox is also running in the upcoming Chicago and New York Marathons as part of the Team Hope for a Cure for Huntington’s Disease Anyone wishing to donate can facebook or google Huntington’s Disease on line

 

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

 

Paxton’s annual Swine n Dine BBQ Festival will take place on Saturday in downtown Paxton.

 

The Paxton Masonic Lodge will hold their 3rd annual “Get Out of Dodge” Raffle with the grand prize being a 5 day/4 night stay at Times Square in New York on Saturday at 2pm in front of the Commandery Building in downtown Paxton. Tickets can be purchased from any lodge member or at Hudson Drug and Hallmark or Kirchner Building Center.

 

Amtrak has canceled all long-distance trains throughout the United States.

(Undated-jm) – Amtrak has canceled all long-distance trains throughout the United States. The long-distance train from Chicago to New Orleans stops in several area communities, affecting many local passengers trying to get to and back from the city. A looming nationwide railroad worker strike is a possibility that will affect many across the country. Freight rail management and labor contract negotiations are already affecting rail systems across the country. Amtrak is among several transportation companies making cancellations to their schedules. All long-distance Amtrak services are canceled for today, and more information for future dates will be released today.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says state and local officials are looking into whether the busing of asylum seekers from Texas to Chicago is a criminal act. An estimated 500 migrants have been sent to the city with more expected. Governor Pritzker has been highly critical of Texas shipping people to sanctuary cities and was asked if he considers this human trafficking or kidnapping…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says even if an asylum seeker signed something prior to boarding the buses, they might not have understood it. The Attorney General and state and city lawyers are investigating the matter further.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to setting an apartment on fire earlier this year. The fire killed three dogs.  

Martell Jones of Champaign initially entered a guilty plea to residential arson, due to this plea charges of aggravated arson with people present and aggravated cruelty to animals were dropped from his sentencing.  The judge sentenced Jones to 15 years in State prison. Jones will receive credit for the 214 days served in custody.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – The Mahomet-Seymour Education Association voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike Wednesday night, according to an Illinois Education Association news release. They haven’t set a strike date yet, but said it means MSEA leaders now have the authority to call one if a fair contract cannot be reached. The group has been working without a contract since June. There are four unresolved issues: class size, plan time, safety and workload and compensation.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The city of Paxton has several new redevelopment agreements with local businesses. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says one is with Kief Realty of Paxton…

 

 

Paxton  Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Champaign-jm) – A well-known face on the Champaign City Council will not seek re-election. Tom Bruno, arguably the most well-known face on the Champaign City Council and not just for his iconic mustache, announced he will step away from his seat at the end of the term in April after 25 years. He was first elected in 1997.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  – Rantoul homeowners are set to receive 300 dollars in credit for electricity from the Rantoul Power Plant after an override veto vote Tuesday night by the Rantoul Village Board. In updating our story, Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith vetoed the measure last month, but a 5 to 1 vote this week  cleared the ARPA funds to Rantoul residents. Rantoul  Mayor Chuck Smith says he understands the vote, but was hoping the funds could be used for other pressing projects in Rantoul…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Watseka–jc)  –   State police and Iroquois County authorities continue to search of a man who ran away from a train that stopped in Gilman on Wednesday, In updating our story,  police are trying to locate Joel T. Smith, who is a person of interest in an ongoing investigation.   Smith was last seen on foot running northeast towards Route  24 from the  Gilman Train Station just after 1pm Wednesday. Smith is  wearing a black button-up shirt and jeans. State police and local authorities are asking anyone with information regarding his whereabouts to call 911 to report it. Police say Smith is accused of an assault on the train. Iroquois West Schools were put on lock-down on Wednesday and will not be in session today. Smith remains at large and police are warning the public not to engage Smith if seen in the area. Police again are telling the public to contact 9-1-1 or local police on Smith. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for attacking a woman in 2020. A Champaign County judge imposed the sentence on James Brown after finding him guilty of domestic battery. Brown also has 3 other pending cases including an attack on a correctional officer at the Champaign County jail.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. corn growers don't have to worry very much about an oversupply of corn or a big price drop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing a disaster proclamation and activating 75 Illinois National Guard members to help with the influx of asylum seekers to Chicago. About 500 people have already been sent to Illinois from Texas, with more to come. Governor Pritzker says this proclamation and support from the guard will help the city and surrounding communities provide humanitarian relief. He says it’s the right thing to do…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says this has been particularly difficult since the state is not getting any notice from Texas as to when more buses may show up.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Police are investigating a shots-fired incident that resulted in a house being hit by gunfire. Officers said they responded to the area of Main Street and Smith Road late Tuesday night for a report of shots being fired. They found no one hurt, but did find three shell casings in the road. Wednesday, a homeowner in the area found their house had been hit several times by bullets. A follow-up search found six more shell casings, all of which were the same caliber as the three previously-recovered casings. Witnesses said they saw a dark SUV speeding through the area and ignoring stop signs after the shots were fired. The motive for the shots being fired remains unknown and the investigation is ongoing.

 

(Danville-jm) – A Danville man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for aggravated criminal sexual abuse and child pornography. Police said Leslie Adams engaged in sexual contact with a woman who, although she was 20 years old, was afflicted with an intellectual disability.  They said Adams also possessed images on his cell phone of the victim engaged in sexual acts. Adams has been in custody since June, 2021. He is housed at the Vermilion County Jail.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is hosting an online webinar to discuss and break down their new City of Champaign Diversity Advancement Program. The program looks to encourage City departments, contractors, and other vendors doing business with the City to increase the amount of goods and services provided by local businesses owned by minorities, women, and other socially and economically disadvantaged groups. The webinar will be held September 21, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. After a 30-40 minute presentation by Adonis Fuller, the City of Champaign’s Purchasing / Compliance Specialist, participants will be able to have their questions answered in a chatbox.

 

(Paxton–jc) Volunteers from the Paxton Swine and Dine group will start to close down Market Street in downtown Paxton early Friday night in preparation for the 10 annual Paxton Swine and Dine in the city on Saturday. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says the closure is needed for the major event…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer. The event starts at daybreak on Saturday morning with the Barbeque contest. County Music Star Tracy Lawrence  will be on the stage live on Saturday night.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – On September 13, 2022, at approximately 11:30 pm, Rantoul Police officers were dispatched to the 500 block of south Tanner street, for a report of a residential burglary, where the offender was still inside the residence. When officers arrived at the residence, they located Kerion Overstreet, 23 years of age, who reported being homeless inside the residence. Additional property located on Overstreet indicated that he had committed additional crimes in the area. Overstreet was later transported to the Champaign County Jail, for the charges of Residential Burglary, Burglary to Motor Vehicle, and Criminal Trespass to a motor vehicle.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The Rantoul based Community Service Center has a new executive director that replaced Andy Kulchyski, who ran the agency for more than 33 years. Cindy Crawford is the new director and she provides some information about her background…

 

 

Community Service Center of Rantoul Executive Director Cindy Crawford

 

Champaign-jm) – One small business is moving into the old Skins ‘n Tins Drum Shop in Downtown Champaign. It’s one of the first steps in downtown’s $3 million revitalization project at Main and Walnut. Fire Doll Studio, a candle shop, first opened in Downtown Champaign on Neil Street a year ago.

 

(Washington-jm) – The new USDA soybean production forecast may be propping up soybean prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

This is National Preparedness Month with a focus on building an emergency kit

(Springfield-jm) – Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey posted a video on his campaign Facebook page blaming incumbent Governor J.B. Pritzker for issues related to crime, education and taxes. Bailey said that if elected, he would undo the things Pritzker has done while he's been in office. Bailey said Pritzker and his team are partly to blame for rising violent crime in Chicago and elsewhere in the state. Pritzker says Bailey's conservative views are too extreme for Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is National Preparedness Month with a focus on building an emergency kit. The basics for putting together a kit include water, at least one gallon per person per day for three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a first aid kit, says Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau…

 

 

IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. Other items include a flashlight with extra batteries, battery powered weather radio and supplies for your pets.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department has made an arrest in a July 14, 2022, shooting death investigation, officially ruling it a Homicide. On July 14 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 of Champaign unresponsive with a life-threatening gunshot wound. She was transported to an area hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. The initial investigation indicated that Ms. Gwin was a resident of the premises and was engaged in a domestic dispute with her father when a firearm was discharged, and she was struck. Yesterday, Raymond Gwin, Sr., 69, of Champaign was charged with four counts of Murder. Gwin remains in the custody of the Champaign County Correctional Center, awaiting trial.

 

(Champaign-jm) – One college in Central Illinois is working to re-vamp its curriculum, hoping to make it easier for students who may already have experience.  Parkland College in Champaign received a $4.99 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and they’ll be spreading it to six other community colleges in the state.  Parkland will receive $1.7 million because they are the lead college managing and dispersing the funds. The rest of the grant will be distributed to Lincoln Land Community College, John Woods Community College, John A. Logan College, Shawnee Community College, Illinois Valley Community College and Rend Lake College. They’ll each receive about $500,000.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is set to meet later today and also discuss the 20-23 budget. P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure says the current is sound and balanced…

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda School Superintendent Cliff McClure. The board meets tonight at 6 with the 20-23 budget hearing with the regular meeting to follow. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Paris man will appear in court after University of Illinois Police officers said he pointed a toy gun at people on Saturday. Officials said an officer observed Curtis Holley, 58, driving on campus and pointing what appeared at the time to be an actual gun out the window. Holley complied with the officer’s commands to stop and release the gun and was then taken to Carle Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Once released from the hospital, Holley was issued a notice to appear in court for disorderly conduct.

 

(Washington-jm) – How long will world and U.S. grain and oilseed markets remain tight and prices high? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Saying Illinoisans' safety will be at risk, an Illinois senator is calling for a full repeal of the Safety, Accountability and Fairness Equity Today Act, or SAFE-T Act. State Senator Don DeWitte of St. Charles, also is providing a petition online where Illinois residents can urge the repeal. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law last year, which will abolish cash bail on January 1, making Illinois the first state in the country to do so. Pritzker has celebrated the legislation as one that supports police departments with funds and equipment such as body cameras, and that the elimination of cash bail will prevent low-level criminals from sitting in jail for months.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging college students to consider fire safety while they’re away at school this year. This is Campus Fire Safety Month and Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz says the threat is real…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. Tips include coming up with an escape plan in case of fire and ensuring some detectors are working in off campus housing. Fultz also urges students not to overload electrical outlets and to follow dorm rules about what appliances are allowed.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant graduated from a FBI program. According to a news release, Lt. David Sherrick graduated from the FBI National Academy on Tuesday. Sherrick is the second officer from Champaign County Sheriff’s Office to graduate from the academy. The first is Captain Shane Cook, who leads the Law Enforcement division, graduating in March 2017.

 

(Decatur-jm) – The civil trial between the family of Kelly Wilson and the Illinois State Police will be heard in the Illinois Court of Claims today. The lawsuit is asking for $10 million in damages in connection with the crash that resulted in the death of Kelly Wilson. On May 8th 2016, a Illinois State Police Sergeant Jeffery Denning was leaving Decatur to pursue Dracy "Clint" Pendleton. Pendleton was accused of shooting a Mahomet officer and police were on a manhunt in Illinois to find him. Denning was sentenced to 24 months of probation for his role in the crash.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The 10th annual Paxton Swine and Dine is set for all day Saturday in downtown Paxton. PaxtonArea Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says for the Barbeque Competitors there is a 500 dollar top prize…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer

 

(Undated-jm) – Four Illinois colleges have earned a spot on U.S. News and World Report’s latest ranking of the best colleges and universities in the nation. Two landed in the top ten, including the University of Chicago at No. 6, and Northwestern University at No. 10. The two other schools that made the ranking are the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana at No. 47, and the U of I Chicago, also known as UIC, at No. 97.

 

(Washington-jm) – Month-over-month changes in planted and harvested acreage forecasts for three major crops resulted in various crop yield adjustments, per USDA's September Crop Production Report. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The state is starting to send out tax rebates to millions of eligible Illinoisans

(Vermilion County-jm) – One person is dead after a crash Monday morning in Vermilion County. According to the Vermilion County Coroner, Madison R. Baker, 21 of Georgetown was pronounced dead as the result of a two-vehicle crash on State Route 1 at 980 North Rd., in Westville.  Troopers responded to the scene around 10:40 a.m. One of the vehicles was a commercial motor vehicle. Route 1 was shut down at this location for several hours.  The accident is still under investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Vermilion County Coroner’s office.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Monday the name of its next Chief Justice. Justice Mary Jane Theis will assume the Chief Justice position starting October 26 to begin a three-year-term. She succeeds Justice Anne Burke, whose term expires on the previous day. Burke also announced that she will be retiring from the Court after 16 years on the bench.

 

(Undated-jm) – Bird flu has returned to the Midwest earlier than authorities expected after a lull of several months. Officials say the highly pathogenic disease was detected in two commercial turkey flocks in western Minnesota's Meeker County. Officials also report that a small hobby flock of chickens, ducks and geese in Elkhart County, northern Indiana, tested presumptively positive. They were the first detections of avian influenza in the Midwest since an infection in Indiana in June. However, there have been several in western states in July and August, plus a few in some eastern states.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is starting to send out tax rebates to millions of eligible Illinoisans. The income and property tax rebates are part of the Illinois Family Relief Plan, giving households a little boost, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Taxpayers that chose direct deposit previously will receive their rebates the same way. Others will get checks in the mail. Officials say it will take several weeks to get all the money out. More information about the rebate program is available online at tax dot illinois dot gov slash rebates.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City leaders are frustrated with the lack of progress to fix tax bills. The county acknowledged the miscalculation for tax bills to residents in Gibson City but so far leaders there haven’t heard any updates. The first installment of Ford County property tax bills are due September 23rd.

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Police have arrested two people they believe are responsible for several electric scooter thefts on campus in recent weeks. Officers were called on Friday just after 8 p.m. by a student who reported his scooter had been stolen from the Illini Union. The student said an Apple AirTag GPS device was on the scooter, which led officers to a house in Urbana on Rainbow View. One of them recognized a car in the driveway as being connected to several prior thefts. Within an hour of the initial report being made, officers had a search warrant and entered the house. They found seven stolen scooters inside and arrested two people: 19-year-old Clayton Mabry and 29-year-old Antoine Rogers. Officers said 19-year-old Clayton Mabry was found with a scooter and that he did not comply with officers’ commands as he was arrested. He was booked into the Champaign County Jail on charges of theft and resisting a peace officer. 

 

29-year-old Antoine Rogers was also charged with theft and violation of an order of protection in a previous case. Officers said he was identified as the person captured on surveillance cameras following several scooter thefts on campus.

 

(Paxton–jc)  – The Paxton Park District is looking at plans for the next year when they meet later today. Park District Director Cody Evans says the cost of pool maintenance to rising costs for personnel and other goods and services used by the district continues to be topics for conversation for the board…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to complete pavement patching at Prospect Avenue and William Street, Illinois American Water and Shaw Brothers will close one northbound and one southbound lane of Prospect Avenue between Daniel Street and Charles Street.  The closures will begin on Wednesday and will reopen on Monday, September 19. During the closure, northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane and southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane. Access will be maintained to all local properties.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Clerk and Recorder Aaron Ammons will host a Property Fraud Prevention and Property After Death information session on Thursday, September 15th from 6:30-8PM at the Champaign Public Library Robeson Pavilion Room A. Champaign County residents will learn ways to prevent property fraud and will get resources on how to plan for their property after death. This event is free and open to all. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest Illinois crop report. 70 percent of corn acres have reached the dent stage and 16 percent are mature. One percent has been harvested. 72 percent of the Illinois corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 79 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as four percent very short, 24 percent short, 70 percent adequate and two percent surplus.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul area resident died from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon just north of Rantoul. The Champaign County Coroner’s Office says 46 year old Homer Green was the lone occupant of the vehicle. Champaign County Sheriff’s Lt. Curt Apperson said the vehicle struck a guardrail in the area of North Ohio Road and County Road 3100 N. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Republican candidate for Illinois Secretary of State says he’ll be the one to finally bring about electronic lien and title, or ELT, processing to the state of Illinois. State Representative Dan Brady, of Bloomington, is running for secretary of state, which handles lien and title records. In his conversations around the state with banks, credit unions, automobile dealers and more, he’s hearing a consistent message. Illinois approved ELT processing for vehicles two decades ago.

 

(Undated-jm) – A new study which ranks the best and worst real estate markets in the country places several Illinois cities near the bottom.  The personal finance website WalletHub compared 300 cities using 17 real estate metrics to determine the ranking, including home price appreciation and job growth. At the bottom of the ranking for the worst real estate markets at No. 300 is Peoria, with Rockford not far behind at No. 294. Other Illinois cities include Chicago at No. 282, Joliet at No. 279, and Elgin at No. 277. Adding to Peoria’s worst in the country score was the high number of underwater mortgages.  The low scores for Rockford and Joliet were affected by some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The top Illinois market is Naperville, but the Chicago suburb is only ranked at No. 190 in the country.


 

(Springfield-jm) – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is releasing “Tumultuous 2020,” an oral history of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project includes interviews with more than 80 people across the state, detailing their experiences during the pandemic and the effect it had on their lives. Take Lisa Badger of Springfield who tested positive early on, in March of 2020. Her name was released to the public as one of the first local cases. She describes how hard that was on her family…

 

 

Lisa Badger of Springfield.  Pharmacists, lawmakers, movie theatre and sports team owners and more were also interviewed. To hear their thoughts on the pandemic, visit: President Lincoln dot illinois dot gov, scroll down and click on “oral history.”

 

(Urbana-jm) – Three individuals were taken to the hospital after a drive-by shooting in Urbana.According to Police, officers arrived in the 100 block of W. Florida Avenue around 5:15 a.m. Sunday morning for a shots fired report. 

Police saya white SUV shot at another vehicle with three men in their 30's inside. The victim's vehicle came to a stop after hitting a light pole and a tree after the shots were fired. Authorities report the three men inside the vehicle suffered injuries described to be non-life-threatening.  Police recovered over 30 shell casings from the scene.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs help finding three thieves. Police say the suspects worked together to steal money from a store, and they were caught on surveillance video. The video captured three people inside AM-KO Oriental Foods and Gifts last month. That was August 1 around 5:45 p.m. near East Springfield Avenue and South First Street in Champaign. Police say one of the suspects distracted an employee, another worked as a lookout, and the other person went into the office and stole $3,800.

 

(Buckley–jc)  Christ Lutheran High School, based in Buckley, has seen its share of high school graduates go on to teaching jobs, work in the ministry, but they also have a long list of graduates in finance, the military, to ag professionals and more  Buckley Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz says the school continues to grow with a Christian family perspective…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz

 

(Champaign-jm) – A new pathway out of poverty is coming to Champaign County. The Regional Planning Commission has a new Mobile Workforce Center that will bring their services to people looking for work. The van is the latest addition to RPC’s Workforce Development Program. The program is meant to provide career services. The Mobile Workforce Center has six desks inside and laptops. Their first event will happen during October’s manufacturing month.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The EPA is giving more than $1 million in funding to the University of Illinois system for P2 grants. P2 grants allow U of I to help local businesses prevent and reduce their pollution while lowering business costs. The grants are funded from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received two grants of nearly $350,000. One will go towards the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and one will go towards the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center.  

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest Illinois crop report. 90 percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond says Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 79 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as four percent very short, 24 percent short, 70 percent adequate and two percent surplus.

 

Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding drivers to follow the state's move over law

(Springfield-jm) – Despite increasing awareness of the importance of broadband, many residents of rural areas, federally subsidized public and multifamily housing have no access to high-speed internet service. According to research by Pew Charitable Trusts, an internet access survey found that only 34% of public housing households had high-speed internet access, 35% were underconnected, and 31% had no access at all.  In downstate Illinois, residents from rural areas are sometimes forced to go to common areas to get reliable internet service. The Federal Communications Commission announced it is authorizing around $800 million for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund for six providers to expand broadband in 19 states, including Illinois, which will receive the largest amount at $212 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health says COVID-19 treatments have kept thousands of people out of the hospital. There were nearly 20 thousand new cases of COVID reported over the past week, not counting those that tested positive at home. But the good news is that therapies like Paxlovid are working says Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. Claffey says they strongly recommend everyone consider the new bivalent booster shot that helps protect against the original strain of COVID and the Omicron variant. That includes those that have been double boosted at least two months ago.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – The entire city of Gibson City is under a boil water order until further notice. This comes after a series of water main breaks including a major break Friday.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff's Office is looking for two people suspected of burglarizing a vehicle. They say it happened overnight on September 7 in St. Joseph, Illinois. The suspects stole electronics as well as the victim's credit card. The credit card was later used at several stores in Urbana. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Those interested in the construction and building trades can get financial help. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – An Urbana man was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries following a truck vs train accident in Rantoul. Rantoul Police say the accident happened around 9 am at the crossing at Liberty Avenue and Chandler Road. The accident remains under investigation.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County is the latest county to report West Nile Virus cases. A batch of mosquitos in Danville has tested positive. Cases have been reported in Ford, Iroquois, Champaign, McLean, Livingston and Kankakee Counties. One person in the state of Illinois has contracted West Nile this year. That person passed away from it.

 

(Washington-jm) – This year poses a huge challenge to analysts trying to forecast demand and prices for U.S. crops. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois' 4th District Appellate Court has affirmed a Sangamon County court's decision from June that blocks a petition that tried to remove Amendment 1 from the November ballot. Amendment 1 would create a state constitutional right for employees to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their choosing to negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work. The case, Sarah Sachen v. Illinois State Board of Elections, was brought by parents and teachers from Chicago Public Schools and claimed the proposed amendment would unconstitutionally enshrine union powers in the Illinois Constitution. The ruling means the amendment will be on the November ballot. If approved by voters in November, the amendment would prohibit laws that interfere with, negate, or diminish collective bargaining agreements, including agreements that require union membership as a condition of employment, according to the measure's language.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding drivers to follow the state’s move over law. The law, also known as “Scott’s Law”, requires drivers to reduce speed and change lanes if they are approaching a vehicle on the side of the road with emergency lights or flashers on. Violators face tough consequences, says Secretary White…

 

 

Secretary of State Jesse White. At least 18 Illinois State Police squad cars have been struck by those not following Scott’s Law so far this year.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police say the woman that was reported missing earlier this week is safe. 25 year old Sierra Dittmar was reported missing Wednesday after her family hadn’t heard from her in 2 weeks. Police say the report of a missing person in this case was determined to be unfounded, and the individual is reported to be safe.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 30 months probation after pleading guilty to aggravated battery of his pregnant ex girlfriend. Kenneth Williams received the sentence in Champaign County court in connection to the June 10th incident at her home in Champaign.

 

(Paxton-jm) – With the streetscape project on-going, the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce continues to invite people to shop in Paxton. Chamber President Austin Curtis says Paxton has a lot to offer…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis.  The chamber, city and residents invite all to the upcoming Swine and Dine day in Paxton this Saturday.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Ford County Public Health Department will be hosting two child vaccination clinics coming up. The first is on September 20th while the second will be on October 4th. Both will be from 9-6. Appointments are required by calling the health department at 217-379-9281.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 bivalent vaccination clinics to those aged 50 and older.  Clinics will be held beginning this week, Monday through Thursday, 8:30am-4:00pm.  Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available.  Starting Wednesday, eligibility will open to everyone aged 12 and older.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary discussed USDA and White House efforts to improve school nutrition during a visit at a Washington DC elementary school Friday. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Many Illinois residents could soon see checks in the mail or extra money from a new income and property tax rebate starting Monday

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police have released new information about a shooting that left two people hurt Thursday afternoon. Public Information Officer Joe Lamberson said the two victims are a 76-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman. The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were pulling into a driveway when an unidentified male subject approached their car and opened fire. Lamberson added that several other houses and another car were hit by gunfire. The suspect fled the area in an unknown direction. Lamberson says the female victim’s injuries are now potentially life threatening. Both victims are listed in stable condition.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Many Illinois residents could soon see checks in the mail or extra money from a new income and property tax rebate starting Monday. Under Governor JB Pritzker's Illinois Family Relief Plan, one-time individual income and property tax rebates will be issued to those who meet the criteria outlined in the plan. According to the Office of the Comptroller, the income tax rebate calls for a single person to receive $50. For those who file taxes as a couple, you can receive a total of $100. Residents with children will receive up to $300 with $100 per dependent, with a maximum of three. For property taxes, owners can receive a rebate equal to the property tax credit on their 2021 return up to $300.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says the busing of migrants from Texas is disgusting and needs to stop. Migrants have been arriving in Chicago by the busload, and Governor Pritzker says they will be taken care of…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says his staff has been in contact with Texas staff but calls them “wholly uncooperative.” States along the border have been dealing with an open border policy that has seen several million illegal crossings into the United States.

 

(Georgetown-jm) – A teenager from Indiana has been federally charged for sexual abuse of a child from Georgetown. Dylan Clark, 19 of Franklin, Indiana, is accused of luring the 11-year-old victim out of her home, picking her up and taking her back to Franklin. The girl was reported missing by her father on Aug. 27. She claimed she was going to her friend’s home, but her father discovered she had never gone to her friend’s house. Deputies in Johnson County found the girl inside Clark’s home and arrested him for kidnapping. Johnson admitted to deputies and his parents that he had picked up a girl he met online and that he “should never have gone to do it.

 

(Undated-jm) – There’s been an emphasis lately on school shooting response training and preparation. Champaign and Ford County law enforcement agencies and school districts Thursday instead focused on ways to prevent the trigger from ever being pulled. Members of the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center spent three hours training county and city officials on decades of research that resulted in a plan to address concerning behavior before it’s too late. Illinois school districts must have a documented threat assessment protocol and update it every year. That’s been state law since the School Safety Drill Act was amended in 2019.

 

(Loda–jc)  The annual Huntington’s Disease walk, golf outing, and silent auction is set for Saturday at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. Event Spokesperson Samantha Cox says the golf is full, but you can still walk the golf course on Saturday morning and enjoy a kids zone, auction and dinner…

 

 

Huntington’s Disease Loda Event Spokesperson Samantha Cox.

 

(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois Memorial Hospital is bringing back their Know Your Numbers Fair later this month. The fair will run from September 19th  through the 24th.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Area high school students and their parents can explore a wide variety of higher education options at the 2022 Illinois Regional College Fair on Wednesday, September 14 from 6-8 p.m. in Parkland College's Donald C. Dodds Jr. Athletic Center.

 

(Champaign-jm) – This summer brought changes to the Visit Champaign county Office. They’re in downtown Champaign on Taylor Street between Walnut and Neil Streets. The organization added a retail space to the front end of its building. There’s a little bit of everything from clothing and handmade soap to jewelry and tote bags. It’s all made in Champaign County. All of the designs on the clothing and bags come from artists with the 40 North art group. The goal is to shed light on the unknown gems of the community.

 

(Washington-jm) – Another huge month for U.S. Ag. exports is helping take those sales to a record high level for the year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Piper City-jm) – The Ford County Public Health Department announced on Thursday that a mosquito batch in the county has tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials said the batch was collected on Sept. 2 in Piper City and represents the first positive test result in the county. No human cases have been reported yet, but the FCPHD is urging people to be aware of West Nile Virus activity in their area and take steps to protect themselves and their family.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Labor and community partners across the state recognized September 8th as Mom’s Equal Pay Day, a day that shines a light on the pay inequality between moms and dads by marking how far into the year moms must work to earn what dads did in the previous year. The American Association of University Women has found that moms are paid 50 cents for every dollar paid to dads. This wage gap has a disproportionate impact on moms of color as a recent survey conducted by Equal Rights Advocates shows over 50% of Black and Latina women struggle with increased caregiving responsibilities and debt, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This “motherhood penalty” can mean that moms have lower lifetime earnings.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is relaunching the “Opening Doors” home buyer program. Opening doors is designed for lower-income borrowers and households of color, offering a 30 year mortgage with a fixed interest rate and a six thousand dollar down payment. Many won’t have to pay that back says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Those interested can find more information about the program and participating lenders online at: ihda mortgage dot org.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign woman was arrested after police said she threatened a postal worker and attempted to escape from them during a follow-up interview. Champaign Police officials said  they were informed on Tuesday that a woman had pointed a gun at a postal worker on Harvard Street near Willis Street. The following day, officers were called to the post office at 600 North Neil Street when the same woman arrived there. Officers spoke with the woman, identified as 29-year-old Kanesha Thaggard, and found a BB gun in her possession. The gun matched the description of the weapon used to threaten the postal worker the previous day. Officers said Thaggard was initially ticketed for disorderly conduct and assault, but she then attempted to flee from the officers in her car. Officers eventually caught up to her and arrested her. She’s been charged with resisting a peace officer, fleeing a peace officer and driving on a suspended license.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is investing $50 million to hire new faculty members. Colleges will have opportunities to request additional hires that advance the university’s mission. The hiring initiative will continue for several years or until the $50 million is allocated. The initiative is expected to grow the number of faculty members by 150 to 200, an increase of about 10%.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The 10th annual Paxton Swine and Dine is set for Saturday September 17th in the downtown area of Paxton. The event starts in the early morning with a B-B-Q competition. Other events include a kids zone, bags tournament and lots of food vendors . Spokesperson Alan Meyer says music is also a part of the day and night…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer.  National known Country Music Artist Tracy Lawrence will perform live in downtown Paxton for a free concert on Saturday night.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police are searching for a missing woman. 25 year old Sierra Dittmar was reported missing on September 7, 2022. Her family and friends say they have not seen or heard from her since August 25, 2022. She's described as a white woman with brown/auburn red hair and brown eyes. She also wears glasses with clear, plastic frames.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County residents who, due to a disability, are unable to appear in person to register to vote may contact the County Clerk’s Voter Registration Department at 217-554-1911 for assistance. The office can arrange for in-home registration services. Registration forms are also available by mail or may be printed from the County Clerk’s website www.vercounty.org. Paperless online voter registration is also available on the same website under “County Clerk,” “Voter Information,” “Online Voter Registration.” The last day for Vermilion County residents to register to vote or file changes of name or address prior to the November 8, 2022 General Election under traditional Illinois voter registration is Tuesday, October 11th. Grace Period registration and voting will be conducted in person at the County Clerk’s office from October 12th through November 8th.  Grace period registration requires two forms of identification, at least one of which includes a correct current address.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Some students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are frustrated with changes made to the university's COVID-19 protocol. Members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America posted the complaint on social media. The group believes the university has gotten careless with COVID-19 rules. The group says campus reduced their testing sites down to just one, at the Illini Union, and are not requiring masks, instead they are making masks optional. The campus positivity rate is nearly 17 percent compared to 0.73% last year.

 

(Washington-jm) – Some U.S. agricultural products are seeing some unusual gains in export sales. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

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 Paxton United Methodist Women on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Gibson City Harvest Fest will take place on Saturday with rock band Hinder performing.

 

Illinois didn't fare well in a review of state laws pertaining to election integrity

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois didn’t fare well in a review of state laws pertaining to election integrity performed by the Heritage Foundation. Zack Smith, a legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation, reviewed election law in all 50 states on a variety of issues. Illinois landed at No. 40 overall with bad marks for no voter ID laws, lax regulations on ballot harvesting and trafficking, and same-day and automatic voter registration. Illinois scored 24 points out of 30 for accuracy of voter registration lists, but scored no points in election litigation procedures, restriction of private funding of election officials or government agencies, as well as restriction of same-day registration, automatic registration and verification of citizenship. Illinois voters can vote early starting Sept. 29. That’s also when local election officials will send voters who requested a mail-in ballot their packets. Illinois expanded mail-in voting to include the option of permanent mail-in voting by request.

 

(Springfield-jm) – This is Suicide Prevention Month and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is reminding that help is available. Veterans are one and a half times more likely to die from suicide than those who have never served in the military. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to vets and make sure they are ok, says Veterans Affairs Director Terry Prince…

 

 

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Terry Prince. Prince urges vets struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety, emotional trauma or substance abuse to call the Veterans Crisis Line at: 9-8-8, and then press 1. Counselors will be there to talk and direct vets to the appropriate resources.


(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign announced on Wednesday that it will be running its Yard Waste Collection program later this fall to offer a green alternative for yard waste disposal. The program will run from October 10 through December 9. Collection is available to all residential properties in the city limits at no charge. 

The city will be divided into two zones: an Orange Zone and a Blue Zone. The two zones will be further divided into five areas, each of which will have their own collection dates. Orange Zone pickups will begin October 10 and Blue Zone pickups will begin October 17.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Some ambulance providers feel their vehicles need critical improvements, but a national shortage is putting up a roadblock.  The Champaign County Fire Chiefs Association reached out to state leaders for help. In a letter to Senator Tammy Duckworth, they said their equipment needs microchips to function and are concerned about the lack of them available for emergency vehicles.  With fewer available, it’s costing ambulance companies more money and more miles.  The medical gear and computers within the ambulances won’t function the same without the right microchips.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The Paxton Buckley Loda High School Panthers sports teams are  in the Illini Prairie Conference for the second year after the change from the Sangamon Valley. P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure says the change is preparing the local teams for more challenges and preparation for state tournaments…

 

 

PBL School Superintendent Cliff McClure

 

(Rankin-jm) – A Rankin couple is facing fraud and theft charges. Iroquois County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Samantha and Benjamin Hartman on charges of credit card fraud and theft under $500. Both were taken to the Iroquois County Jail where they have posted bond and were released.

 

(Champaign-jm) – If you’re driving in Champaign you can expect some road closures. Repair work on five railroad crossings started Wednesday. The work will start at Fifth and Washington Streets and will move to Phillips Drive, Walnut Street, Bradley Avenue and end near McKinley Avenue. The Public Works Department said repairs on each crossing could take three to five days. Some of those crossings could be closed at the same time. Norfolk Southern Railroad will be doing routine maintenance work. They will be replacing the old wood ties for the tracks and resurfacing the crossings. They said this work would make for a smoother ride when driving over the crossings.

 

(Paxton–jc)  An electronics recycling event is set for Saturday September 10 in Paxton at the city buildings area along route 45 in the city. A private company is offering to pick up items ranging from stoves, washers and dryers to car parts, microwaves and Televisions. There is a fee on some items being dropped off on Saturday  Those fees range from one dollar to 10 dollars. Those bringing items to the Paxton electronics recycling event are asked to enter the site at 755 North Railroad via the Vermilion street entrance. Any questions may be directed to city hall.

 

(Washington-jm) – How might the numbers regarding household food security in our nation differ between 2021 and the previous year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A scathing audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows deficiencies throughout the Pritzker administration agency. The two-year audit from the Illinois auditor general released this week included the first 18 months of the pandemic and shows the unemployment agency did not have proper controls over many aspects of the federally funded state agency. There were 26 compliance findings. All but three showed significant deficiencies. Among the findings was a failure to maintain accurate and complete claimant data for pandemic unemployment assistance. While the audit from during the peak of the pandemic shows as of June 30, 2021, nearly 425,000 claimants were paid more than $8.1 billion, not much else could be gathered. The audit findings highlight that state law requires state agencies to establish proper accounting as safeguards against “waste, loss, unauthorized use and misappropriation and maintain accountability over the State’s resources.” The department also failed to prepare monthly reconciliations and had weaknesses in security over confidential information, among other findings.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Area state lawmaker 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is sponsoring legislation to address a concern when it comes to the states clean energy bill. Representative Bennett talks about the bill and his piece of legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Developmental Services Center reported catalytic converters were stolen from their transportation vehicles over Labor Day weekend. Champaign Police said they arrived around West Bradley and North McKinley Avenue around 2 p.m. Tuesday. 10 catalytic converters were taken.

 

(Savoy-jm) – Federal dollars will be going to Willard Airport thanks to Representative Rodney Davis. Davis was at the airport on Wednesday to announce an estimated $3 million will be going into improving the security features at the airport. Improvements will include an expanded TSA compliance area, larger traveler wait areas and increased checkpoint capacity. The improvements are expected to be complete in 2024.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The 10th annual Paxton Swine and Dine is set for Saturday September 17th in the downtown area of the city. The event starts around sunrise with contestants for the B-B-Q contest and ends with Country music star Tracy Lawrance, says event spokesperson Alan Meyer…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer

 

(Urbana-jm) – Enrollment across the University of Illinois System reached a record high this fall of more than 94,800 students, driven by managed growth after five years of robust expansion, President Tim Killeen announced today. This fall’s enrollment across the three-university system reached 94,861, an increase of 111 students – .1 percent – from last fall’s 94,750. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's incoming class of 7,957 first-year students brings greater representation by gender, nationality and students who are the first in their family to go to college, while a change in the application process resulted in greater academic competition. Second in size only to last year's record freshman class of 8,303, the new class brings the university's total student enrollment to 56,644 – a record-sized total and undergraduate student body.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Members of the Mahomet-Seymour Education Association have turned down an offer from the district but say they’re still open to negotiating. Union leaders say they started meeting with district leaders in the spring. Their current contract expired on June 30. Union leaders say they’ve reached agreements on leave policies, internal substitution policies, out-of-district experience credit, IEP writing days, compensation for dual credit, sit-time rate for bus drivers, overtime calculation policies, length of contract day and more.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  Hardy’s Reindeer ranch is now open for the fall season. Owner Mark Hardy says the theme for this year’s corn maze is a “Mythical Maze” The fall corn maze at Hardy’s Reindeer ranch just west of Rantoul sits on 10 acres on corn and has 8 check points with in the maze.The maze can also be done at night, with flashlights. Hardys also has 20 reindeer, with tours, and other fall activities at the ranch.

 

(Washington-jm) – We are just a few days away from getting information from USDA that will give us a better idea of the size of this season's crops. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The state is awarding an electric vehicle tax incentive package to a Decatur manufacturing company

(Springfield-jm) – Some firearm owners in Illinois may soon need to update their Firearm Ownership Identification.  A new bill filed by Representative Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn would require young gun owners to apply for a FOID card again after their 21st birthday. She says this proposal would give law enforcement the chance to do another background check. According to Illinois State Police, in order for someone under the age of 21 to obtain a FOID card in Illinois, they must have a FOID-eligible parent or guardian to sponsor their child’s application. An active duty member of the military over the age of 18 does not need a parent or guardian. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is awarding an electric vehicle tax incentive package to a Decatur manufacturing company. T-C-C-I plans to invest more than 20 million dollars into retooling its Decatur facility to manufacture compressors for electric vehicles. Governor J-B Pritzker says in turn, the state is offering tax breaks under the new “Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act.”...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The project will retain 103 current positions and create over 50 new jobs. Additionally, T-C-C-I is partnering with Richland Community College to set up a climate innovation center and workforce training academy.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department will be holding their annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony this Sunday and they are inviting the public to attend. 

The ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Champaign Fire and Police Memorial. The Memorial is located in the northeast corner of West Side Park, located at 400 West University Avenue.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers needs your help to find a couple thieves. They’re wanted for retail theft. Police were called to Meijer in Urbana at 2500 Philo Road at 5:20 p.m. on August 13. Surveillance video captured two people working together to load more than $1,000 in electronics into backpacks. They then left the store without paying. They left in a black Chevrolet Impala with a damaged rear window which was covered with tape and plastic. The first male appeared to be in his low to mid 20s. He was wearing a purple do-rag, yellow surgical mask, and a white long-sleeve MTV shirt. The second male appeared to be in his upper 20s with a beard. He wore a black do-rag, blue surgical mask, and a black zip-up sweatshirt with three white stripes on the sleeves. They both left carrying backpacks.

 

(Springfield-jm) – After nearly 20 Illinois State Police vehicles have been hit this year, one state lawmaker is reminding the motoring public about Scott’s Law. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says its all about bringing first responders home safely…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is inviting first responders and healthcare workers to visit for free next weekend in recognition of what they do. The day of recognition will be September 11. The Museum and Library said that police officers, paramedics, soldiers, ER nurses, firefighters and dispatchers all work hard to keep people safe. On the 21st anniversary of 9/11, they will get to visit a museum dedicated to a president who “kept the nation safe.”

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office arrested several individuals following an underage drinking party over the weekend. This one occurred at a residence in rural Milford. Those arrested were charged with illegal consumption or possession of alcohol by a minor. Police say several of the attendees were from over 30 miles away. The sheriff’s office is also investigating a driver leaving the scene of an accident near the residence.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest crop report for Illinois. Both temperatures and rainfall were a little above normal this past week, and average statewide topsoil moisture now stands at 9 percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 88 percent of the Illinois corn crop is in the dough stage or beyond…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 89 percent of soybeans are setting pods and 4 percent are dropping leaves. The condition of the soybean crop improved to 67 percent in good to excellent condition.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Freedom Caucus, which consists of several downstate lawmakers, is looking for fixes to Illinois' unemployment rate, which continues to lag the nation's by nearly a full percentage point. Illinois currently has a 4.4% unemployment rate, compared to the U.S. average of 3.5%. The state's economy also continues to trail the rest of the nation as the Land of Lincoln finished 48th for worst unemployment change last month. According to Illinois Worker Adjustment and Training Notification Act data, in the past three months ending July 31, around 22 businesses in Illinois have announced they will be laying off 1,460 workers. The group says the state needs to work on lowering property taxes, pension reform and lower corporate income taxes.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new Illinois State Police regional headquarters is planned for East St. Louis. The state-of-the-art headquarters will house two outdated local offices and take a holistic approach to reducing violent crime says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The land comes from local non-profit group Lansdowne Up. The design phase will soon get underway with completion estimated to be in about 3 to 4 years.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A lane on Prospect Avenue in Champaign will be closing later this week in order to accommodate routine sewer maintenance. Traffic on southbound Prospect will be reduced to one lane between Devonshire and Huntington Drives starting at 7 a.m. today. The lane will reopen at 4 p.m. before closing again at 7 a.m. on Thursday. This process will repeat until 4 p.m. on Friday, when maintenance is expected to be complete.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District will soon host COVID-19 bivalent vaccination clinics beginning the week of September 12. As of September 1, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Due to limited vaccines, the CUPHD will begin with the most vulnerable populations and limit the first weeks to Champaign County residents age 65 and older. Appointments are required.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton’s Swine n Dine will be coming up here in September. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis says it will be a fun-filled day in downtown Paxton…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – The annual River to Rail bike ride is returning to Vermilion County this Saturday. Hosted by the Vermilion County Conservation District, the ride will feature four routes along the Kickapoo Rail Trail, each a different length – 63, 37, 30 and 7.5 miles. The three longest routes will take cyclists to the Rail Trail section that includes the trestle bridge above the Middle Fork River; the shortest will stay within Kennekuk County Park. All proceeds from the event will benefit the continued development of the Rail Trail. The cost of registration will include stops and support along the route, a t-shirt and lunch.

 

(Philo-jm) – The Illinois State Police has released new information about a crash that shut down a highway in Champaign County Friday morning. The crash happened on Illinois Route 130 three miles south of Philo. State Troopers said a Chevrolet Corvette was driving southbound near County Road 500 N when it crossed into the northbound lane and hit a semi-truck traveling in that direction. 

The driver of the Corvette was extricated from their car and was airlifted to an area hospital with serious injuries. The highway was shut down for six hours as authorities investigated the crash and cleared the highway of debris.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Here’s the latest crop report for Illinois. 64 percent of corn is in the dent stage and 11 percent of the crop is mature. The condition of the corn crop improved to 71 percent in good to excellent shape. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 75 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 9 percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

The U.S. stock market has had a rough year and it's hurting Illinois' underfunded pension system

(Springfield-jm) – An investigation has revealed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s investments include companies that earned more than $20 billion in state business since he took office.  In 2019, Pritzker promised to divest his personal fortune of investments in state contractors and to transfer his portfolio into what he calls a “blind trust.”  The nonpartisan watchdog Better Government Association found in some cases, state dollars flowed to companies that were registered to lobby Pritzker, who as governor could influence the outcome of the contracts. One of the companies in question is insurance giant Centene Corporation. Since 2019, its subsidiary Meridian Health Plan of Illinois has been paid over $20 billion from state Medicaid contracts and other programs, according to documents filed with the Illinois Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  According to the BGA report, Pritzker retained stock in five companies that already held state contracts when he placed those stocks into his trust. These included stock in two rail companies that play roles in the multi-billion dollar expansion of roads surrounding O’Hare International Airport, part of Pritzker’s infrastructure agenda. And after Pritzker took office, his trust invested in seven more companies that have done business with Illinois state agencies.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Simple lawn care tips for the lazy. Some lawns rival those of the largest ballparks, while others barely get mowed. University of Illinois Extension Horticulturist Chris Enroth says if yard maintenance isn’t your thing, there are a few basics to follow so you don’t get kicked out of your neighborhood…

 

 

University of Illinois Extension Horticulturist Chris Enroth. Enroth says mowing too short or removing more than a third of the blade really stresses the grass. That may make it grow faster and cause more weeds to pop up. He says if you only fertilize once a year, apply it late summer to early fall.

 

(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County Treasurer, Kurt Albers, announced that the deadline to pay the second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is this Friday. After that date, 1 ½ percent interest on all property must be added to the 2nd installment each month; it remains unpaid according to the Illinois State Statutes. The interest rate on the first installment will be 6 percent after September 9, 2022. The Treasurer’s Office is open 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To avoid waiting in line you may also pay by mail or at any bank in the county. If the postmark reads September 9, 2022, the payment will not be late. There is also a drop box on the south side of the Administrative Center near the 911 Center.

 

(Woodworth–jc)  –  A group called Save Your Farm Legacy Now is hosting a free informational meeting on how to keep your family farm in the family. The event is set for November 16 near Woodworth in Southern Iroquois County. The venue is the Barn Event Center along route 49 just west of Woodworth.  Save Your Farm Legacy Now Spokesperson Cheryl Mitchell says they are putting all types of resources together for the event…

 

 

Save Your Farm Legacy Spokesperson Cheryl Mitchell

Anyone interested in attending the event may find out information by

Contacting Mitchell at 217-369-0637 or cheryl-b-mitchell-dot-com



 

(Champaign-jm) – A pair of streets in Champaign’s Campustown neighborhood will be closed to through traffic as crews install a crane for roofing operations at 302 East John Street. Starting today, John Street will close between Second and Fourth Streets, including the intersection with Third Street. Third Street will also be closing between Daniel and Green Streets. These closures are expected to last through Thursday, September 15.


 

(Charleston-jm) – Eastern Illinois University is asking its community for input regarding its search for a new president. Current president Dr. David Glassman announced 10 months ago his intention to retire at the end of June 2023. Since then, EIU selected Greenwood/Asher as its search firm for assistance in selecting EIU’s next president. Greenwood/Asher will be on the EIU campus on Thursday and Friday to conduct stakeholder forums for students, staff, faculty and local community members. These forums are designed to inform EIU’s presidential search process and give the community a chance to discuss the search.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The U.S. stock market has had a rough year and it's hurting Illinois' underfunded pension system.  By the middle of 2022, the stock market had lost approximately 21.3 percent of its value. This has an impact on government finances, as public pension systems rely on investment gains to help their funded status. A report by Truth in Accounting shows how the Illinois pension system is affected by the U.S. stock market.  Illinois' public sector pension system is partially funded by the investment returns in certain stocks and bonds. As the U.S. stock market struggles, so does the Illinois' pension system. Illinois has among the most unfunded public pension liabilities in the nation. While the state's auditor general has Illinois' unfunded liability at around $140 billion, the American Legislative Exchange Council recently put the figure at $533 billion. Nationwide, the number is $8.2 trillion. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Officers with the University of Illinois Police Department are investigating a robbery that happened Monday morning on campus. It happened at 10 a.m. near the intersection of Springfield and Wright Streets. Officers said a student was walking on the sidewalk when he was approached by someone riding a bicycle. The bicycle rider punched the student, took his phone and rode north on Wright Street. The student did not need medical attention. The suspected offender was photographed on campus surveillance cameras, wearing an orange hoodie with “Illinois” printed on it, gray pants and brown shoes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is once again extending the deadline to get your driver's license renewed. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the extension and if you might be eligible to do some things from your home…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois and Opendorse have joined forces to offer student-athletes and businesses a name, image and likeness marketplace. The new marketplace offers student-athletes easier access to review opportunities, accept offers from businesses on the platform and earn compensation. Deals that take place through the Illinois Marketplace will be processed through Opendorse to follow state law and NCAA policy, according to FightingIllini.com.

 

(Undated-jm) – Road construction will resume tomorrow across the state. The Illinois Department of Transportation opened up as many lanes as possible for the Labor Day weekend. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  With the Labor Holiday almost complete, the PaxtonArea Chamber of Commerce is setting its sights on the annual Swine and Dine event set for later this month. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says the Barbeque contestants arrive early on the morning of September 17th…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer. A car cruise in, bags tournament, kids zone, lots of food vendors also hilite the day in Paston. Nationally known Country Music Star Tracy Lawrence will also perform a free concert Saturday evening on the 17th in Paxton.

 

Illinois Department of Transportation says that lanes that have been closed for construction will reopen, where possible, for the Labor Day Weekend

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that lanes that have been closed for construction will reopen, where possible, for the Labor Day holiday to minimize travel disruption. Non-emergency closures will be suspended from 3 p.m. this afternoon to 11:59 p.m. Monday. Lane reductions will continue on I-57 between Buckley and Onarga in Iroquois County, I-57 south of Illinois 50 to the Kankakee River in Kankakee County, I-74 between Neil Street and Lincoln Avenue in Champaign-Urbana and I-74 between mileposts 192 and 194 near St. Joseph in Champaign County and I-74 over the Salt Fork River west of Danville in Vermilion County.

 

(Paxton-jc) – It’s the service in small towns that helps bring customers to small town businesses. The City of Paxton has a Paxton Swine and Dine coming later this month and a wine and chocolate walk on the first Saturday of October. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer says events like these help showcase small town service and businesses…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Alan Meyer.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two bats in Champaign County have tested for rabies over the past several months. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District wants to make the public alert. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease.  It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.If a bat enters your home or work area, the Illinois Department of Public Health said, it will need to be captured. 

 

(Gibson City-jc) – As we look to the Labor Day Holiday weekend, one area town continues to recover from a devastating downtown fire in July. Several Gibson City businesses were destroyed from the blaze and several continue to remain closed pending any attempt to re-open. Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey says the Gibson City community is thankful for area fire departments like Paxton, that came and helped his community…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Parkland College Foundation and Agricultural Technologies department recently received a $75,000 grant from Compeer Financial as part of their Agriculture and Rural Initiative. Parkland's ag department will apply the grant to the school's Precision Agriculture program for equipment and technology purchases that supplement the hands-on learning and real-world experiences built into the curriculum. The college will also receive two annual $1,250 scholarships to award students enrolled in the Agriculture program or pathway over the next four years.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Changes will be coming to Champaign County’s Labor Day Parade this year, namely its location. The parade is being moved from Prairie Park in Urbana to downtown Champaign because of construction that is starting in the park. The parade will start at 10 a.m. on Monday at North Chestnut and East Main Streets.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA is out with its new forecast for farm income. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is announcing driver services facilities will be closed for the Labor Day holiday. Facilities open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed Saturday. Facilities open Monday through Friday will be closed Monday.

 

(Paxton-jc) – The Labor Day holiday is considered the last unofficial weekend of summer. The City of Paxton and the Paxton Park District remain thankful for the efforts of the community and area to help open the Paxton pool this summer. Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans says the efforts of all those involved was appreciated…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans.

 

(Champaign-jm) – District 10 Illinois State Police recently conducted alcohol countermeasure enforcement patrols in Champaign County. The details were conducted to determine which businesses may be selling alcohol to underage people. Two people were arrested for unlawful delivery of alcoholic liquor to a minor.

 

(Buckley-jc) – Buckley based Christ Lutheran High School hosted another huge success with its annual auction and dinner in August. CLHS Executive Director Sandy Spitz says having a Christ based learning environment is a key for teaching tomorrow’s leaders…

 

 

CLHS Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Thieves looking for catalytic converters targeted an Urbana dealership this week, taking at least 18 from Napleton’s Auto Park on Wednesday morning. New catalytic converters vary in cost, but they can set someone back up to $3,000 dollars.

 

(Champaign-jm) – COVID cases at the University of Illinois are reaching all-time highs. The university has not seen daily cases like this in the last two years, but testing requirements are different now than they used to be. Only unvaccinated students and staff have to test.  On Tuesday, the university reported 326 new cases among students and staff, with a 22.65% positivity rate. The last time the numbers were close to being this high was in February 2022, when 287 cases were reported in a single day on February 1.

 

(Washington-jm) – What kind of farm income year is 2022 shaping up to be? USDA's new forecast has some answers to that question. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

The 2022 Arthur Cheese Festival will take place Saturday through Monday.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Loda Lutheran Ladies on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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

 

The National Sweetcorn Festival takes place through Monday at McFerren Park in Hoopeston.

The 74th annual Pontiac Threshermen's reunion takes place through Monday, 3 miles north of Pontiac.

Illinois residents can apply to receive financial help with their utility bills starting today

(Paxton-jm) – Illinois State Police say the man involved in an incident on I-57 near Paxton has been captured. Police had been looking for 27-year-old Sergio Huerta of Huntsville, Texas. Huerta is accused of fleeing from a traffic accident as well as getting into a physical altercation with an adult female.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois residents can apply to receive financial help with their utility bills starting today.  The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program offers $300 million in support to help families pay their gas and electric bills. Illinois officials hope families experiencing hardships from inflation apply to the program. Households must earn less than two times the federal poverty line to receive LIHEAP benefits. The application period for the program starts September 1st and closes May 31, 2023. Funding for LIHEAP comes on a first-come, first serve basis.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state of Illinois still owes $1.8 billion to the federal government. It comes after the state borrowed money during the COVID pandemic. The state paid part of what it owed but instead of paying the full amount which could have devastating impacts, says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is talking about college admissions. If elected, he said he will have a plan to make sure 90% of U of I students are from Illinois. Bailey said the school’s priority should be educating people from the state. To do that, he wants to change state law, and gradually alter the proportion of admitted students to guarantee nine out of every 10 seats go to graduates of Illinois high schools.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton License, Permit, Zoning and Insurance committee will meet before the September city council meeting. The committee will be discussing changing ordinance language related to nuisance and vacant buildings. The committee meeting will take place Tuesday, September 13th at 6:30 pm with the city council meeting at 7.

 

(Washington-jm) – One expert says don't take USDA's new trade forecast for the upcoming fiscal year too seriously. There are too many unknowns. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor Pritzker announced new measures on Wednesday to address staffing shortages in Illinois agencies that provide essential health and safety services to Illinois’ most vulnerable residents. The State is working to fill vacancies and hire thousands of frontline workers in the Departments of Human Services, Corrections, and Veterans Affairs.

 

(Loda-jm) – The Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease will take place Saturday, September 10th at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. Spokesperson Samantha Cox explains what Huntington’s Disease is…

 

 

Team Hope Walk for Huntington’s Disease Spokesperson Samantha Cox.

 

(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Public Health Department is announcing a bird in the county has tested positive for West Nile Virus. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any

symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department said they are noticing a rise in electric scooter and bike thefts to start the school year. Six were stolen in the first week of the semester. Officials said more students are using electric scooters, but they may not be using locks sturdy enough to prevent thieves from taking them. Those scooters also don’t have many places to put a lock on or around them.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's Index of prices received by farmers dropped during July, but only slightly. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Parkland College’s Staerkel Planetarium Kaler Lecture Series will be held tonight with U of I Physics Professor Nicolas Yunes talking about The Science of Einstein’s Gravity Playlist starting at 7 pm. Cost is $2.

 

The 2022 Arthur Cheese Festival will take place Saturday through Monday.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Loda Lutheran Ladies on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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

 

The National Sweetcorn Festival takes place through Monday at McFerren Park in Hoopeston.

 

The 74th annual Pontiac Threshermen's reunion takes place through Monday, 3 miles north of Pontiac.

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