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WPXN Blog Archives for 2023-01

The Illinois Department of Public Health is keeping an eye on the new "Kraken" COVID variant

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois State Police say they took enforcement action against a business for openly advertising the sale of newly banned weapons, but no additional information was provided. In a YouTube video Friday, gun-rights advocate Todd Vandermyde revealed he’d been told that the state is taking actions to enforce the state’s ban on certain semiautomatic guns and magazines. Monday, a spokesperson for Illinois State Police confirmed that ISP took enforcement action earlier this month against a business for “openly advertising the sale of banned weapons.” The statement said the investigation is ongoing and additional information wasn’t immediately available.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is keeping an eye on the new “Kraken” COVID variant. The number of overall COVID infections has been dropping, but there’s been a gradual increase in the X-B-B-Point-One-Point-Five, or the “Kraken” variant. State Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra…



State Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. According to the CDC, the updated bivalent COVID booster is effective in protecting against the Kraken variant, reducing the risk of symptoms by nearly half.


(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Farm Bureau has a new manager. Bailey Conrady is the first woman to hold the position in the county’s history. She was assistant manager for five years. She replaces longtime farm bureau manager Brad Uken, who stepped down to take a position with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.


(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana Police Department is investigating after a thief recently stole more than $700 worth of wigs from a store. The suspect was captured on store security cameras. He is depicted as being a Black male with facial hair, but no hair on the top of his head. He was wearing glasses, a blue hoodie, blue pants and a white undershirt.


(Paxton–jc) The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is planning a Glo Bingo event for February 10th. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis  says the event takes place at the Pueblo Lindo and is now sold out…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Austin Curtis


(Normal-jm) – The Kappa Sigma fraternity at Illinois State University has been suspended until December 31, 2025, for violating the code of conduct. The Director of Media Relations at ISU says the suspension is related to incidents in the fall 2022 semester that involved vandalism to other Greek houses. The vandalism contained derogatory anti-LGBTQ slurs.


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. William Felt was arrested for driving under the influence and Stephen Fetters was arrested for battery.


(Washington-jm) – What are the chances that retail egg prices will decline this year after 2022's major increases? Gary Crawford reports…



(Watseka–jc)  –The Old Courthouse Museum, 103 W. Cherry, Watseka, has added a few items for the viewing pleasure of visitors. One of the displays includes items from the Addison Goodell family of Loda, including a Stylograph, used to make copies of correspondence in the late 1800's; an 1871 banking ledger, an 1884 county atlas, and some letters with information on young men from the Loda area who were serving during World War I. Several generations of the Goodells were active in the community. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, plus the museum will be open from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 5. For more information about the museum or to arrange a tour, call 815-432-2215 during regular business hours.


(Undated-jm) – Illinois law enforcement officials are speaking out against a traffic incident that led to a Memphis man's beating death. In early January, Memphis, Tennessee police pulled over 29-year-old Tyre Nichols for alleged reckless driving. The exchange led to a beating that resulted in Nichols' death. Parts of the video from police-worn body cameras and surveillance cameras were released to the public late last week. 5 officers were charged with murder. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said while more facts still need to come out, the officers did not employ proper police tactics.


(Springfield-jm) – The State Board of Education is looking for locations to provide free meals to children this summer. The summer food service program ensures kids don’t go hungry during the summer months when school is not in session. The Board of Education’s Tim Murphy says they need organizations around the state to participate…



State Board of Education’s Tim Murphy. Interested groups can find more information online at: isbe dot net, and then click on “nutrition.”


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City leaders are creating a tax increment financing district to help a pair of businesses affected by a fire. The new tax increment financing district will be in the downtown area and would help Hood’s Ace Hardware and Hustedt Jewelers that were damaged by the fire at Jay’s Place. It’s expected the TIF district will be in operation later this spring.


(Champaign-jm) – A Tuscola man is facing multiple charges in Champaign County. Philip Levis is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary and theft. Police say Levis allegedly stole a vehicle from a restaurant in Urbana. A couple of hours later, Levis allegedly stole 6 bottles of vodka from a Champaign convenience store. Bond was set at $100,000.


(Springfield-jm) – There is a renewed effort by some state Democrats to re-introduce the progressive income tax. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is looking to put a stop to it…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Undated-jm) – Even though the monthly median price of Illinois homes was lower in December 2022 than it was in December 2021, the annual median price remained higher in 2022 than the previous year, according to data from Illinois REALTORS. In December 2022, 9,581 homes sold was 36.4 percent lower than 15,070 sold in December 2021. The monthly median price of $238,000 in December 2022 was 2.1 percent less than $243,000 the year before. In December 2022, homes sold on average of 34 days, up from 33 days a year ago. Available housing inventory in December 2022 totaled 20,671 homes for sale, a 9.7 percent decline from December 2021 when 22,896 homes were on the market. The time it took to sell a home in 2022 averaged 28 days, a 15.2 percent reduction from 33 days in 2021.


(Paxton-jm) – The Hands of Christ food pantry, received a check for $6,399.59 from Paxton IGA. The Round Up program provides opportunities for customers to give back to the community and helps non-profits and charities  earn money. Since the inception of round up the store match has been $21,512 and the total amount customers contributed plus store match is $79,738.


(Washington-jm) – One expert says food shoppers this year are likely to see continued price hikes for butter and other so called "fats and oils" products. Gary Crawford reports…



The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers to check if they qualify for the earned income tax credit.


(Springfield-jm) – The embattled head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will keep his job for now. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Marc Smith will continue to serve as director of the state's child welfare agency despite being held in contempt of court at least 12 times for the improper placement of children. John Kim will continue to serve as director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Jane Flanagan will continue to serve as director of the Illinois Department of Labor.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide. CO is a colorless and odorless gas, and can cause symptoms similar to the flu says Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz…



State Fire Marshal Spokesperson JC Fultz. Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed on each level of the house. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, local fire departments responded to nearly 20 thousand calls last year about carbon monoxide.


(Champaign-jm) – A U of I student is facing a charge for battery after police say he struck an employee at a bar. Thomas Kempf of Champaign, was arrested outside The Red Lion on Green St. in Champaign. Police were called by a security employee who reported that Kempf refused to leave the business after being instructed to do so and struck a security employee in the face, University Police said.


(Champaign-jm) – A Rantoul man is in the Champaign County Jail for allegedly robbing a Champaign liquor store last month. Dane Williams was charged with aggravated robbery and burglary for allegedly entering Hollywood Liquors on North Mattis on December 1st. He allegedly told the clerk he wanted to buy cigars but that he had a weapon. Bond was set at $300,000 because of prior convictions. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison.


(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign County jury found a 22-year-old woman guilty of first-degree murder in connection to the shooting death of a 19-year-old woman in October of 2021. Arieana Colbert was convicted of shooting and killing Acarrie Ingram-Triner of Rantoul the night of October 20, 2021. Police said there was an argument in an apartment complex near Kenwood Road and White Street in Champaign and shots were fired. Ingram-Triner was shot in the neck and later died at the hospital. Colbert was one of two people to be charged in connection to the murder. Quincy Hayes is charged with obstructing justice after police officials said he was also present at the shooting and provided false information to investigators. Hayes is scheduled to appear in court again on February 15 for further proceedings. Colbert will be sentenced on March 23.


(Washington-jm) – A member of the ag industry says explaining the importance of a Farm Bill to all Americans is an ongoing process for various reasons. Rod Bain reports…


(Paxton–jc)  One local F F A Chapter is preparing for its annual Farm Toy Show. The Paxton Buckley Loda F F A is hosting the event on Saturday February 11th says PBL FFA student Alex Potter…



PBL F F A Student Alex Potter


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers to check if they qualify for the earned income tax credit. The credit is for low to moderate wage workers, and the process starts with your federal income tax return, says Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky)...



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. For the last tax year, the credit ranged from 560 dollars to nearly seven thousand. You can learn more online at: tax dot illinois dot gov.


(Springfield-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court defending the part of a SAFE-T Act that a Kankakee County judge previously ruled the law as unconstitutional. The Attorney General filed it in Court, arguing that cash bail is not in the constitution. Among their arguments includes the history of the word bail in the Illinois Constitution does not specifically mean cash bail. This is the state’s opening argument in the case that is expected to go on for at least a couple more months. The Court agreed to hear oral arguments from both sides in March.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a 13 million dollar expansion of the state’s Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program. This will be the second year for the program, with money going to 30 organizations statewide to train future workers in the building and trades industry. Governor J-B Pritzker says there will be a focus on diversity…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Up to 14 hundred people will be able to serve in pre-apprenticeship thanks to this funding.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said 48% of homes tested in Champaign County have high radon levels, and they are encouraging people to learn more about the threat of radon and test for it in their homes, schools, and workplaces. The health department has safe and easy-to-use home radon test kits available for $7 that can be picked up at Environmental Health Division on Kenyon Rd. in Champaign Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


(Urbana-jm) – An inmate at the Champaign County jail has been found guilty of striking another inmate with a broomstick. Malik Chapple was found guilty of aggravated battery for striking an inmate following an altercation. Chapple will be sentenced March 15th. He was already in jail for unlawful use of weapons by a felon for his connection to a shooting outside a funeral luncheon at a Champaign American Legion.


(Danville-jm) – Vermilion County is getting more money to upgrade its courtrooms in Danville. The improvements will make the Rita B. Garman Courthouse more tech-savvy. They’ve been trying to update their courthouse technology since before the pandemic. Now, they’re starting back up again. The county is getting more than $88,000 from a state-wide technology program. The four courtrooms will receive technical upgrades for electrical operations like wiring and new computer equipment for tech clerks.


(Washington-jm) – Food shoppers this year may get a little bit of a price break for beef and pork. Gary Crawford reports…



Medical officials in Illinois are warning adults to keep marijuana edibles out of the reach of children

(Springfield-jm) – Medical officials in Illinois are warning adults to keep marijuana edibles out of the reach of children after what they call an alarming jump in the number of accidental consumptions. The number of incidents of children 5 and younger consuming edibles from 2017-2021 in Illinois increased from 5 to 232 cases. Most cases were not severe, and were resolved over the phone, but some required hospitalization. Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020.


(Springfield-jm) – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will be celebrating Lincoln’s birthday and Black History Month in February. Plenty of activities are planned in honor of both occasions, says Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills, including free admission the weekend of February 11th and 12th…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills. The museum will kick off Black History Month on February 1st with one of 10 performances of a short play called “Small Beginnings.” It’s about Robert Smalls who was enslaved since birth and commandeered a confederate ship, taking family and friends to freedom. You can learn about more activities planned for next month at: president lincoln dot illinois dot gov.


(Kankakee-jm) – A Kankakee priest has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually assaulting a resident of Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee. Richard Jacklin was a local priest who was contracted to provide religious services to residents of SDC, a residential facility for adults with Intellectual Disabilities.  On October 31, 2017, Jacklin was on duty at SDC and went into a room with a 39-year old adult male who suffered from a physical handicap, had an IQ of 47 and functioned at the age equivalent of a 6-year old.  A staff member at SDC walked into the room and interrupted Jacklin as he was performing oral sex on the SDC resident. 


(Buckley-jm) – Buckley village leaders will hold a public hearing tomorrow to discuss building a wastewater plant. The village is looking at $8 million in grants and low interest loans to build the plant on the southwest side of the village. The hearing will take place at 10 am at Christ Lutheran High School.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has approved a tuition increase for in-state freshmen who will begin school next fall at the Champaign-Urbana and Chicago campuses. Incoming freshmen from Illinois will see a 1.9% increase in their tuition. With the increase, the base in-state tuition for undergraduates at the Champaign-Urbana campus will be $12,712 a year, which is an increase of $238. Tuition at the U of I-Springfield will remain the same.


(Washington-jm) – The current Deputy Agriculture Secretary announced Thursday she will soon be leaving her current role. Rod Bain reports…



(Champaign-jm) – With the support of State Senator Paul Faraci, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District will receive $7.15 million to improve transportation through bus upgrades. The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District will receive $7,150,000 to replace outdated or worn buses with new hybrid vehicles to increase accessibility and ensure transportation options are up-to-date. The first two rounds of downstate transit grants went to projects that renovated the transit facility and passenger information kiosks for the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, a new transportation center and headquarters in downtown Bloomington.


(Champaign-jm) – A University of Illinois art and design professor who is currently exhibiting at Parkland College's Giertz Gallery will provide two talk sessions on Thursday, February 2. University of Illinois Associate Professor of Graphic Design Stacey Robinson will speak at Parkland College's William Staerkel Planetarium at 10:45 a.m., followed by a "Chat & Chill" with the artist at noon.


(Undated-jm) – An Illinois school is warning parents regarding a new social media app that school officials think could be putting them in dangerous situations with strangers. The free app, called Omegle, randomly pairs users with others from around the world to talk "one-on-one" anonymously. Users can add interests that will allow the app to pair them with someone who shares similar interests. Mokena Junior High School said it was made aware of the "concerning" app, which it believes many students are actively using.


(Bloomington-jm) – Bloomington-based insurer State Farm reportedly is refusing to issue new auto policies on some Kias and Hyundais in the St. Louis region as theft rates of the vehicles remain high. The report comes after news of a surge in thefts of older Kia and Hyundai cars around the country. The vehicles lack an immobilizer, a common part that prevents car thieves from bypassing the ignition system. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Progressive Insurance also has suspended policies for the vehicles.


(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign and its fire department are giving people a chance to add a life-saving tool to their homes this winter season if they can’t afford it on their own. The city is giving away and installing smoke detectors in households. As long as the recipients live in single-family, owner-occupied homes, the Champaign Fire Department will provide and install a smoke detector free of charge. People can call Champaign Fire at 217-403-7200 to learn more and schedule an installation.


(Rantoul-jm) – The trial of a woman accused of murdering a Rantoul woman got underway this week. Prosecutors allege Acarrie Ingram-Triner was murdered over $35. Arieana Colbert is on trial charged with murder.


(Washington-jm) – USDA is forecasting another year of rising milk production, even as milk prices fall. Gary Crawford reports…


***News nws 0242dairy***


(Watseka-jm) – Mike Tilstra will remain CEO of Iroquois Memorial Hospital. The Board of Directors approved a two year agreement with Tilstra earlier this month. Tilstra served in an interim role of CEO at the Watseka based hospital last January after retiring from Nexus Academy in Onarga after 30 years.


(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department says Bobby  Battle, 32, was arrested for stealing a coat containing a wallet and headphones from an unattended seat at the State Farm Center. Battle was a temporary employee at the State Farm Center and was working the basketball game. Battle is charged with theft and obstructing justice. When questioned by police, Battle made statements that contradicted his actions caught on security cameras.

Illinois Senate Republicans are hoping to stave of any renewed attempts to pass a progressive income tax

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Senate Republicans are hoping to stave of any renewed attempts to pass a progressive income tax. In 2020, voters shot down an effort to move Illinois from a flat tax to a progressive tax where those earning more, pay more in taxes. There’s been talk of trying again but Senate GOP Leader John Curran says the people have spoken…



Senate GOP Leader John Curran. Governor J-B Pritzker was recently asked about the issue and he said pursuing a graduated income tax again was not on his radar.


(Undated-jm) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Illinois seized more than 8,100 pounds of illegal drugs and $23 million in counterfeit items. The data covered the time period between October 2021 through October 2022. 

Prescription drugs, such as Xanax and Tylenol with codeine were the most seized drugs, while handbags, watches and jewelry were the most seized counterfeit items.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a nearly 114 million dollar investment in downstate transit projects. The money is going to 32 transit agencies to support 44 different projects, says Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman…



IDOT Secretary Omer Osman. This is the third round of transit funding through the state’s Rebuild Illinois Program.


(Urbana-jm) – A now former U of I employee was arrested on accusations she made personal purchases on her university-owned credit card last year, according to University Police. Rebecca  Nash of Milford, was taken into custody at the Illinois Human Resources office for theft. On January 11, a U of I employee reported that Nash had made six personal purchases on her university-owned credit card between July and November. When questioned by university staff, Nash repaid two of the charges and had a third reversed, but the remaining unpaid charges total $10,446, police said.


(Washington-jm) – Food shoppers this year may see prices rising more than had been projected previously. Gary Crawford reports…



(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County area housing market cooled in 2022 from the record pace set in 2021, as rising interest rates, inflationary concerns and weakening inventory levels combined to trigger lower home sales.  Year-end 2022 total home sales of 3,002 units were reported in the Champaign County area, down 10.63 percent from 3,359 reported in 2021. Home prices continued on an upward pace through 2022 with the median home sale price for the area at $185,000, up 5.71 percent from $175,000 in 2021.  


(Gifford–jc)  –  The 28th annual Midwest Ag Expo continues for its second day today at Gordyville USA near Gifford. The show runs from 8am to 3pm today. Jerry Wallace of Wallace Land and Auction of Fisher says its a good time to talk farming and meet people…



Wallace Land and Auction of Fisher Owner Jerry Wallace

Abbe Insurance of Buckley is also at this year's Midwest Ag Expo. Larry Abbe says one topic from event goers is crop insurance…



Abbe Insurance of Buckley Agent Larry Abbe.

The Midwest Ag Expo runs from 8am to 3pm today. The show is free to attend, free parking too.


(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is announcing a settlement with online used-car retailer Carvana. Illinois was the first state in the nation to suspend Carvana’s license back in May, the result of a year-long investigation, says Secretary Giannoulias…



Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. Under the agreement, Carvana admitted wrongdoing and the state will be able to suspend or revoke the company’s dealership license if this happens again.


(Washington-jm) – Two U.S. House members from Illinois have been appointed to working committees. Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller will serve a second term on the House Agriculture Committee. In a statement, Miller said she looks forward to bringing her expertise and experience to the committee as it drafts a farm bill. Republican Congressman Darin LaHood was appointed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to serve on the House Select Committee on China.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is making good on a four and a half billion dollar federal loan used to help the state get through the pandemic. The last one point four billion dollar payment for funds borrowed to pay unemployment insurance claims has been made, saving 20 million dollars in interest payments says Comptroller Mendoza…



State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The early repayment was part of an agreement between business and labor negotiators, the state and lawmakers. The deal will also put more money into the state’s unemployment insurance and rainy day funds.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana High School student on Wednesday learned her fate in court after she pleaded guilty last month to a charge of disorderly conduct connected to threats made to the high school. The 16-year-old girl was sentenced to 30 days of detention. She has already served 14 days. She was also ordered to 24 months probation, perform 50 hours of community service, and complete an educational program online.


(Washington-jm) – A long-time agricultural advisor notes some of the challenges involved in crafting Farm Bills, including one for approval sometime this year. Rod Bain reports…



(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers and the Champaign Police Department are asking for help in solving an identity theft that happened earlier this month. Officials said that on January 3, a man presented a fake ID card to the employees of the First Mid Bank & Trust, located at 114 West Church Street in Champaign. Using that ID card, the man withdrew $8,800 from another person’s bank account and then left. Champaign Police are asking for help in identifying the man, who was captured on video recorded by the bank’s security cameras. He appeared to be a White male with a receding hairline and was wearing a blue surgical mask, a blue jacket and light-colored pants.


(Gifford–jc)  –Today is day two of the 20-23 Midwest Ag Expo at Gordyville USA near Gifford. The event runs from 8am to 3pm  Farm Credit Services of Illinois Agent Jason Rust says its a time to talk crop insurance and meet new people…



Farm Credit Services of Illinois Agent Jason Rust


Double Y Sales and Service of Cissna Park owner Tom Yergler says even though the weather is not cooperating, today is a good day to get a deal on a lawn mower and they will deliver your new mower in the spring…



Double Y Sales and Service of Cissna Park owner Tom Yergler


The 20-23 Midwest Ag Expo features over 175 vendors in 144 thousand square feet of showroom at Gordyville USA. The show runs until 3 this afternoon. 



(Springfield-jm) – Heavy snow is expected to impact travel today. Much of the state is under a winter weather advisory or winter storm warning, with the forecast calling for anywhere from 3-7 inches of snow. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel says it could get messy out there…



IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel also urges drivers to have an emergency kit in their car and to give snowplows plenty of room to do their job. You can find the latest winter road conditions online at: getting around illinois dot com.


(Springfield-jm) – Gas prices are on the rise again, and Illinois is home to some of the highest prices in the nation. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.42. AAA reports that’s 33 cents more than a month ago. In central Illinois, the price is close to $3.60 a gallon, but averages close to $4 a gallon in Chicago, one of the most expensive markets in the country.  Illinois’ gas tax went up in January and will increase again in July.


(Springfield-jm) – Yesterday marked the 3 year anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Illinois. Since that initial case, more than 4 million Illinoisans have been infected with the virus and over 36 thousand have died. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Sameer Vohra says moving forward…



Illinois Department of Public Health Director Sameer Vohra. Vohra says lessons learned during the pandemic helped guide the state’s response to the Monkeypox outbreak and to monitor travelers from areas where Ebola is a problem. He adds that there is more work to be done to stop the spread of misinformation and to address health inequities.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man is under arrest after University of Illinois Police officials said officers found two guns in his possession during a traffic stop on campus. Officials said Ronald Bufkin was pulled over at the intersection of Fourth and Chalmers Streets because he disobeyed a stop sign. When Bufkin stepped out of the car to complete a field sobriety test, the officer saw a gun tucked in Bufkin’s waistband. The gun turned out to be loaded, as was a second gun discovered inside the car. Bufkin has a FOID card but does not have a concealed carry permit, officials said. He was arrested and charged with an aggravated unlawful use of a weapon felony and for diving under the influence.


(Paxton–jc) Even though its winter, officials with the city of Paxton continue with business re-development grants and on-going economic development. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says efforts for another block of streetscape and work with local businesses continues…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Danforth-jm) – An Iroquois County man is under arrest and facing extradition to Alabama where he faces numerous felony charges for sex crimes against children. Iroquois County Sheriff’s officials said Brenden Noel, aged 30 from rural Danforth, was arrested by members of the Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service. Noel had an outstanding Iroquois County arrest warrant that charged him with violating the Sex Offender Registration Act, but he also has 11 arrest warrants to his name in Alabama. Those Alabama warrants charged Noel with numerous felonies that include sexual extortion, electronic solicitation of a child, transmitting obscene material to a child by computer and possession of child pornography. Noel is currently in custody at the Iroquois County Jail.


(Washington-jm) – Two North American neighbors continue their discussion on a Mexican decree on genetically modified corn imports that could impact U.S. corn growers among others. Rod Bain reports…



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois voters rejected a proposal in 2020 to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated tax. There are currently discussions to try the measure again. Governor J.B. Pritzker, however, said that's not on his radar.  The Illinois Constitution requires a flat income tax. The progressive income tax proposal would have created different tax rates for different income levels. Voters rejected that idea.  Crain's Chicago Business reported this week that state Senator Robert Martwick plans to offer up the measure again in the coming weeks.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois recently announced that international enrollment in the fall of 2022 set records in both the COVID era and for all time. 

The exact number of international students enrolled at the university in the fall was 11,548, which topped the previous record of 10,826 that was set in 2017. 126 countries are represented by these students, with 87% of students coming from Asia. China led the way with 5,464 students, just under half of all international students. India was the second-most represented country with 2,395 students, a national all-time high, followed by South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois is looking to push out more electric vehicles on the roads, but it's not without some concerns. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – Plans are moving forward for an Urbana solar farm that could help low-income families.  The city council approved a special permit letting a developer use part of a landfill near East University Avenue and I-74. Right now, the land has a 4-megawatt solar farm. It powers Urbana city building and helps low-income housing. The developer still needs to apply for those incentives before they can start construction. 



(Washington-jm) – Dairy operators this year are facing a tighter squeeze on margins. Gary Crawford reports…



A winter storm will impact parts of Illinois late tonight into Wednesday with between 2 and 9 inches of snow

(Undated-jm) – A winter storm will impact parts of Illinois late tonight into Wednesday with between 2 and 9 inches of snow. The National Weather Service in Lincoln reports heavy snow accumulation appears most likely east of Interstate 55 with a Winter Storm Watch in effect. Snow totals could make for driving disruptions and possible road closures. Officials recommend having your vehicle emergency kit stocked and ready to include a full tank of gas.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois’ minimum wage increased to $13 at the beginning of the year and businesses are feeling it. In 2019, after no increases in the minimum wage since 2010, the legislature agreed to a gradual increase that will top off at $15 an hour in 2025. The passage fulfilled a campaign pledge from Governor J.B. Pritzker. In step with the ramp-up, the Illinois minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour on January 1, 2024, and on January 1, 2025, the minimum wage will reach $15. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says most employers will opt to trim jobs and cut hiring rather than raise prices.


(Springfield-jm) – Vanity license plates can be a fun way to express yourself, but Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias says some are just too inappropriate to be approved. More than 54 thousand vanity plates were requested last year, and 383 were rejected for various reasons, says Secretary Giannoulias…



Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. Among those nixed were: cocaine with a k, hail no and kiss ash.


(Gibson City-jm) – The Gibson City Melvin Sibley school district will be holding a series of roundtable discussions in the coming months. The first roundtable discussion will be on Wednesday, January 25th at 8 pm with the discussion being facilities management: use, maintenance and security. The second roundtable discussion will be on Wednesday, February 22nd at 8 pm with the discussion on strategy and enrichment: the philosophy and mission of the district. Both roundtable discussions will be held in the GCMS Elementary School library.


(Paxton-jm) – Two committee meetings for the Paxton city council will be held tonight. The first committee meeting is the economic development committee where they will hear a presentation from the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission at 6. Following that meeting, at 6:45, the finance and budget committee will meet to discuss future bond payments and funding for future improvement projects.


(Washington-jm) – Egg production is still running below year-ago levels. Gary Crawford reports…



(Hoopeston-jm) – A Hoopeston woman is facing drug and theft charges. Hoopeston Police arrested Courtney St. Clair after police were called to the Dollar General in regards to a retail theft. St. Clair was located and found to be in possession of the stolen items as well as meth and items from a previous burglary.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department says police responded to a report of shots fired around 7:45 pm at the intersection of Stonegate Drive and South Mattis Avenue on Saturday. Police say they found evidence of gunfire as well as a vehicle that struck a pole. The occupants of the vehicle were gone by the time police arrived. No injuries have been reported at this time.

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker signed three bills the Illinois legislature recently sent his way. One amends the state’s procurement and construction capabilities for public utilities. Another amends the state’s elections laws about vacancies at county offices. A third amends the current budget to pay off the state’s remaining unemployment insurance trust fund debt. Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced she immediately began payment of the $1.37 billion bill, saying it saves taxpayers $20 million in interest.


(Springfield-jm) – Another challenge to Illinois’ gun ban from attorney Thomas DeVore has been filed, and this one has twice the number of plaintiffs. Monday, DeVore announced the second case was filed in White County where he has 1,690 plaintiffs, 62 of which are gun stores, spanning across 92 counties. An Effingham County judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from enforcing the gun ban on 866 plaintiffs who sued, including several gun stores. A separate state-level case out of Crawford County challenges the gun ban and registry on several grounds, including the Second, Fifth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. That has yet to have a hearing scheduled. A federal case from the Illinois State Rifle Association has sent out summonses, but a hearing date has yet to be set. A separate federal court case is expected to be filed soon.


(Springfield-jm) – A new law in Illinois ensures free menstrual products are available at state prisons. Access to feminine hygiene products is sometimes limited behind bars, but this law will make sure inmates at Department of Corrections Facilities have what they need, says Senator Celina Villanueva of Chicago…



State Senator Celina Villanueva. The law requires these products to be offered free of charge.


(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Public Health Department is informing the community of some slight changes to their COVID-19 testing and vaccine procedures. The health department is still offering COVID-19 rapid and PCR testing available by appointment. To schedule a testing appointment, please call (217) 379-9281 and select option #3.  COVID-19 vaccine appointments will also be offered by appointment only, in replace of theTuesday morning walk-in clinic. 


(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in locating a Rantoul man wanted on domestic battery charges. Crime Stoppers officials said Drayon Parker is wanted for aggravated domestic battery, violating an order of protection and for failing to appear in court. Bond was set at a cumulative $162,500 for these offenses. Parker is described as being Black, 5 feet, 8 inches in height, and 155 pounds in weight. He has black hair and brown eyes.


(Washington-jm) – As labor costs for fruit and vegetable growers continue to increase, what are some strategies available for improved management and increased production? Rod Bain reports…



(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County Coroner, Jane McFadden stated that the death of a 3-year-old child is currently being investigated by the Danville Police Department and the Vermilion County Coroner’s office. The victim has been identified as Kanari M. Miller of Danville. The investigation is on-going.


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. James Meyer was arrested for an in state warrant, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Eddie Sutton was arrested and cited for driving on a suspended or revoked license. Kody Rangel was arrested on an in state warrant.

Enforcement of Illinois' gun ban has been temporarily suspended for the 866 individuals who sued the state

(Springfield-jm) – Enforcement of Illinois’ gun ban has been temporarily suspended for the 866 individuals who sued the state. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the gun and magazine ban into law last week. Tuesday, attorney Thomas DeVore sued in Effingham County state court arguing the law violates equal protections by exempting law enforcement. A judge issued the TRO Friday evening. The case advances pending an expected appeal.


(Springfield-jm) – January is Radon Action Month in Illinois. Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can cause major health problems like lung cancer, says State Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Kevin Sur. That’s why it’s important to check your home…



State Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Kevin Sur. If radon is detected, Sur says you should contact IEMA or a licensed mitigation professional.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a cooking fire at a two-story apartment building on Saturday that led to one person being transported to a local hospital. Crews arrived on the scene at the 900 block of Crescent Dr. on Saturday evening and reported light smoke coming from the back of the building. They quickly extinguished the fire inside one of the first-floor units. The fire department said that cooking caused the fire. The person who was treated on the scene for a laceration and transported to a local hospital was an occupant of the building. The other apartment occupants were displaced due to damage. No firefighter injuries were reported.



(Undated-jm) – As mentioned earlier in this newscast, an Illinois judge issued a temporary restraining order for 866 individuals who sued the state over the assault weapons ban. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he’s heard a lot of concerns from constituents and law enforcement over the law…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Champaign-jm) – A Chebanse man who was stopped for having an expired registration in Champaign is facing a Class X drug charge. Police stopped Aaron Smith for the violation. They also learned Smith had a suspended drivers license and no insurance. During a search of his vehicle they found two glass pipes and a bag containing about an ounce of meth with a street value of nearly $2,000. He is due back in court February 14th.


(Washington-jm) – U.S. ag. product sales to China are continuing to grow. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois’ unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 4.7% and remains higher than the national average of 3.5%. The Illinois Department of Labor reports a decrease of 800 jobs from the month before. November’s job gains were adjusted downward by more than 5,000. The largest gains over the month were in education and health services. The largest losses were in professional business services, leisure and hospitality and other services.


(Springfield-jm) – Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision and one state Senator is reflecting on the status of reproductive rights. In 1973, Roe v Wade granted women a constitutional right to an abortion. But last year, that was struck down by the U-S Supreme Court. Senator Celina Villanueva sponsored a measure that the Governor has signed into law affirming that in Illinois, women have the right to choose. Still, she says there is more to do…



State Senator Celina Villanueva. Villanueava says as neighboring states clamp down on reproductive rights, it’s important that Illinois remains a place where people have control over their own bodies.


(Urbana-jm) – Members of Urbana’s Civilian Police Review Board said it’s time to make some changes. The organization reviews and suggests ways police officers can better their relationship with the community. Changes will be made for the first time in their 12-year history. They want more access to decisions police make when people file appeals against the department. This includes access to internal data like body-cam footage, police reports, and traffic stop information.

(Springfield-jm) – An area lawmaker is expressing his frustration with the recently passed assault weapons ban. State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet says Democrats are once again siding with criminals and not law abiding citizens…



State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man is facing charges for allegedly dealing cocaine. Jayson Felton is charged with possession to deliver cocaine, meth delivery and possession of meth. A search found 51 grams of powder cocaine, 17 grams of crack cocaine, 28 grams of meth and $648. Felton admitted he sells cocaine to get money for his grandchildren which he raises. He faces up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charges. He’s due back in court February 15th.



(Washington-jm) – The latest USDA report on cattle feedlot activity shows the cattle herd continuing to shrink. Gary Crawford reports…



(CIssna Park–jc)  A Chicken dinner benefit for a two year old Cissna Park boy battling cancer was a huge success. Organizers says during the first several hours of the event at the Cissna Park Legion on Sunday, over 1 thousand dinners were sold. The family and organizers say they remain very thankful for the community and area.


Members of Illinois' congressional delegation are debating raising the ceiling

(Springfield-jm) – While about half the country already has reduced the amount of pandemic-era federal food assistance offered in their state, Illinois is preparing for the change to take effect in March. The Illinois Department of Human Services announced the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will return to pre-pandemic levels beginning March 1. The taxpayer-funded program assists more than 2 million Illinoisans.


(Washington-jm) – Members of Illinois’ congressional delegation are debating raising the ceiling on how much borrowing federal taxpayers will be on the hook for. The Republican-controlled U.S. House is looking for spending caps in any negotiations around increasing the borrowing threshold. Democrats fear the caps and cuts would be to vital programs. The deadline to raise the debt ceiling was yesterday; however, the Federal Reserve has said if it is not raised by June it could rattle world markets, cost millions of Americans to lose jobs, cause the government to default and delay Social Security checks. Since 1960 the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times. The nation’s debt ceiling stands at $31.4 trillion.


(Springfield-jm) – Lawsuits against Illinois’ new ban on assault weapons are being filed in state and federal courts but Governor J-B Pritzker says he remains confident the law will be upheld. Speaking on a media call from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the Governor said that drafters of the law worked with legal experts to make sure it was constitutional…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Opponents argue the ban violates their second amendment rights.


(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help in solving a recent string involving the theft of stop signs, and people who provide a tip could be rewarded with up to $1,000. The Sheriff’s Office was recently notified that numerous stop signs have been stolen over the last two months in several Champaign County townships, including St. Joseph Township, Stanton Township, and Ogden Township. Some of the stolen stop signs, however, were recently recovered in the Saline Waterway north of St. Joseph.


(Cissna Park–jc)  A benefit chicken dinner is set for Sunday for a 2 year old boy from Cissna Park that is battling cancer.  Wynstan Kaufmann is the son of Andy and Katie Kaufmann and was recently diagnosed with cancer. The event will run from 11am to 4pm at the Cissna Park American Legion says event spokesperson Sheila Levitt…



Sheila Levitt of Cissna Park. Donations for the family may also be dropped off at the Frederick Community Bank in Paxton or Cissna Park. The group is also selling shirts and Wynstan Strong bracelets on facebook. 


(Undated-jm) – Iroquois and Ford County Fair Queens are geared up for state competition this weekend in Springfield. Seventy-three County Fair Queens will be on stage at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center for the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs State Queen Pageant. The event runs through Sunday. 20-year-old Jakki Mowrey of Milford is the reigning Iroquois County Queen. She was crowned last July at the local fair in Crescent City. Jakki is the daughter of Jon and Tracy Mowrey. She’s attending ISU majoring in Sociology. 17-year-old Gracelyn Greenburg will represent the Ford County Queen. She’s the daughter of Kelly Reitz and Matt and Kristi Greenburg. Gracelyn is a senior at PBL High School and enrolled in the CNA Health Professions course at Parkland College.


(Champaign-jm) – In order to perform work for a sewer lining project, Visu-Sewer Construction Inc. will close one eastbound lane of Bradley Avenue between State Street and Randolph Street. The closure will occur between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. today


(Washington-jm) – 2023 could bring another decline in overall U.S. meat production. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has released what he calls a blueprint for modernizing the office, transforming operations and expanding services. One of the goals is to improve driver services facilities by using technology to overhaul and improve customer service and reduce wait times. The plan includes the “Skip the Line” appointment program at facilities to improve the customer experience. 


(Undated-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s ready to return to Illinois after traveling overseas to attend a global conference of various world leaders from business and government. He says he personally paid for “much” of the trip. Pritzker attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. He took part in discussions, including one on the landscape of domestic politics in the United States. Joining Pritzker on the trip was his wife, chief of staff, and two deputy governors. The governor’s trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year cost taxpayers at least $14,284, a figure that didn’t include the cost of security.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Board of Higher Education is seeking a 180 million dollar increase for state colleges and universities. The board approved its annual budget request, which is 7 and a half percent higher than last year’s proposal. State Higher Ed Executive Director Ginger Ostro says this includes an additional 50 million dollars for college map grants and outreach to get more students to apply…



State Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro. Additional funds would be doled out to schools and there’s also money to boost dual credit programs at community colleges. It will be up to lawmakers and the Governor to review the budget request.


(Undated-jm) – Area residents who want to improve their reading, math, or English, especially those who lack a high school diploma or are English-language learners, can receive free training in Rantoul and the Champaign-Urbana area through Parkland College. Free GED and English as a Second Language ESL classes are being held weekday evenings at the Rantoul Business Center, 601 S. Century Blvd., Rantoul. ESL classes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; GED classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Free GED, English as a Second Language, and English Communications Career Pathway classes are being held mornings and evenings at the Parkland campus and online. Classes offer open enrollment, allowing new students to join any time during the semester.  The career pathway courses provide adults interested in Business Administration and Management, Nurse Assistant, Commercial Driving, and Information Technology opportunities to study reading, math, and language as it applies to their industry of choice. Parkland's Adult Education classes offer open enrollment, allowing new students to join at any time during the spring semester.  

For more information or to sign up for the classes, please contact Adult Education at 217-351-2580.


(Springfield-jm) – Last week, the state wrapped up the 102nd General Assembly and began the 103rd General Assembly. One of the things lawmakers did was issue a proclamation honoring former State Senator Scott Bennett who passed away unexpectedly last month. Scott Bennett is the nephew of current State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City who talks about the proclamation and how much it meant to the family…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois student was recently the victim of a sexual extortion scam that resulted in a $100 loss, the U of I Police Department reported. UIPD officials said the scam happened this week. The student sent intimate pictures of himself to a person he met online and was subsequently threatened with the release of those photos to his social media contacts. The offender demanded a $100 payment in exchange for keeping the photos private. The student complied with the demand and then blocked the offender.


(St. Joseph-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed they plan to remove an overpass near St. Joseph despite a petition to save it. The I-74 bridge is located on Champaign County Road 2000 East. A petition was posted in the Village Hall describing it as an important transportation link for the people who live there. IDOT says they are removing the bridge due to safety concerns and a study done compared the additional road user costs for closing the bridge to the amortized annual cost of constructing a replacement bridge and the study recommended not replacing this structure.


(Washington-jm) – USDA has announced this year's funding allocation that will be dedicated to protecting U.S. crops from pests and diseases. Gary Crawford reports…



Onarga American Legion Post 551 will host their fish fry tonight from 4:30-7.


A benefit chicken dinner is set for Sunday for a 2 year old Wynstan Kaufmann from Cissna Park. Wynstan is the son of Andy and Katie Kaufmann and was recently diagnosed with cancer. The event will run from 11am to 4pm at the Cissna Park American Legion. 

Illinois restaurants continue to tread lightly as adversity hits them from multiple directions

(Springfield-jm) – A measure that brings about various changes to areas of public health like nursing homes and hospitals is now law. House Bill 240 was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. While supporting various aspects of the measure, some worried the bill included last-minute changes impacting counties’ ability to hold the state accountable for transferring and treating criminal defendants deemed unfit for trial.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker continues to tout successes in Illinois at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Governor has been participating in various panels, speaking on the international stage about the state’s efforts to ban assault weapons, protect reproductive rights and transition to clean energy…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker also talked about the nation’s economy, saying it will likely be a very long time before inflation drops to the Federal Reserve’s goal of two percent.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois restaurants continue to tread lightly as adversity hits them from multiple directions. The combination of inflation, rising costs, staffing shortages and current and potential employees demanding higher pay can be a recipe for disaster, according to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Prices have gone up for food and everyday items that a restaurant needs to operate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois server minimum wage is $7.20 per hour in 2022.


(Springfield-jm) – Tax filing season kicks off Monday. The Illinois Department of Revenue will begin accepting state tax returns on January 23rd says Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky)...



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. Kownacki says if you file an error free return and choose direct deposit, you should get your refund in about four weeks. The website is: my tax dot illinois dot gov.


(Champaign County-jm) – A Champaign County judge is asking the county board to make a change. Ben Dyer wants jurors to get a raise. He’s asking to increase their pay from $10 to $40. In a letter to the board, Dyer said there hasn’t been a pay increase since 1965.


(Paxton–jc)  City of Paxton leaders continue to work with local businesses and homeowners in the downtown area of the city on re-development agreements. The total nears 20 says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Champaign-jm) – Police are investigating a report of suspicious activity reported at TownePlace Suites, in Champaign over the weekend. Hotel staff reported that a housekeeper had found a guest room containing various pieces of mail with the intended recipients’ personal and banking information and evidence of illegal drug use, according to University Police. The mail is suspected to have been stolen. The guests had checked out before the items were discovered.


(Champaign-jm) – A new abortion clinic is opening in Champaign. An Ohio based physician is opening the clinic in west Champaign next month. It will operate on West Park Court in the former Advanced Aesthetics surgery and laser center. The clinic will begin taking patients in early to mid February.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Parkland College Board of Trustees welcomed the college's new president, Dr. Pamela Lau, and named a room at the campus at the request of a generous donor. In her debut report to trustees at their regular meeting Wednesday, Lau congratulated Trustee Dr. Maureen Banks on her appointment to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). Banks will represent Illinois trustees; her term as an ICCB board member begins now and ends in 2029. Dr. Lau also reminded the board of their next budget workshop, scheduled for Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. before the board's regular 7 p.m. meeting.


(Springfield-jm) – Nearly a million and a half Illinoisans depend on small rural hospitals for care, but most under-25-bed hospitals are fighting to keep their doors open. Reimbursements that small rural hospitals receive from federal and state governments are inadequate and subject to across-the-board cuts every year. Meanwhile, the cost of remaining viable has doubled in the past two years, he said. When the federal government “sequestered” the budget two years ago, rural hospitals lost 2% of reimbursement revenue across the board. This January, unless Congress acts, a new federal program called Pay As You Go is set to cut another 2-4% percent. Illinois lawmakers recently approved a one-time payment of $460 million for hospitals across the state to help with nursing shortages and other issues.


(Springfield-jm) – Tax filing season kicks off Monday. The my tax Illinois website has been improved this year to make filing the IL 10-40 easier than ever says State Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki (kuh-nacky)...



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. Last year, 90 percent of taxpayers filed electronically. To get started, visit: my tax dot illinois dot gov.


(Undated-jm) – Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker appeared on CNN Wednesday and shared his thoughts on the collections of classified materials found at the home and private office of Democratic President Joe Biden. The Democratic governor said an independent investigation is called for in the matter, but he said Biden's situation is different compared to the classified documents discovered after the raid of former Republican President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.


(Springfield-jm) – More acres are now available for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s cover crop program. 20 thousand additional acres have been added to the fall cover crop program. State Ag Director Jerry Costello says recipients will be chosen from the overwhelming number of initial applicants…



State Ag Director Jerry Costello. Eligible applicants receive a premium discount of five dollars per acre on their crop insurance. The new acreage comes thanks to state and federal funding.


(Urbana-jm) – Jeffrey A. Stein, an administrator for nearly two decades at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an alumnus with three degrees from UIUC, has been appointed secretary of the Board of Trustees and the University, President Tim Killeen. Stein, who currently serves as associate director for research at the Prairie Research Institute and as an assistant research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, will succeed Gregory Knott, who will retire May 1 after 35 years of service to the University of Illinois System. Stein will begin his new duties January 23 in a designate capacity, working with Knott to provide a smooth transition. The appointment will go to the board for formal approval at its January 26 meeting in Chicago.


(Gibson City-jm) –  One of the controversial pieces of legislation to pass in the waning hours of the lame duck session dealt with abortion access and gender affirming care. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the legislation…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Champaign-jm) – Two University of Illinois students filed a police report that their jewelry had been stolen between December 17, 2022, and January 7. The jewelry was swiped from their apartment, which is in the 1000 block of South Locust Street in Champaign, according to University Police. The students reported their door was locked when they left but unlocked when they returned. The pair said the estimated value of the jewelry is $760.


(Danville-jm) – Vermilion County Health Department’s former administrator Doug Toole is suing the Vermilion County Board of Health. He said he was forced to resign. The lawsuit accuses the County Board of violating the state’s Open Meetings Act at the November 10 meeting. Toole spent 34 years with the Health Department, six in the administrator position. Jana Messmore is serving as the administrator for now until the Board of Health fills the opening.


The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper tonight from 5-7 pm at their station located at 134 W. State Street. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6-13. Deliveries are available in town by calling 217-202-6441.


The Illinois Department of Human Services says enhanced benefits in the SNAP program are ending next month

(Switzerland-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker is in Switzerland for the 2023 World Economic Forum to tout his agenda. Some back home say the governor should be more focused on the state's issues. Pritzker is making his second trip out of the country during his time as governor of Illinois. During a panel discussion on domestic politics with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and members of the U.S. Congress, Pritzker touted his energy and social policies, including a gun ban and abortion expansion, and was asked about a possible U.S. recession. Pritzker also spoke about bipartisanship within American politics saying people don’t want bipartisanship, they want things to get done.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Human Services says enhanced benefits in the SNAP program are ending next month. SNAP, or food stamp recipients have been getting extra benefits during the pandemic, but that changes come at the end of February, says Secretary Grace Hou (ho)...



Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou (ho). D-H-S says the reduction will be between 95 to 250 dollars per person, per month. You can learn more online at: abe dot illinois dot gov.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court has announced they will hold arguments remotely today. The Illinois Supreme Court will meet over Zoom because multiple court support staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on two cases: MB Financial Bank v. Brophy and Walton v. Roosevelt University.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says his office’s Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program has hit the 100 million dollar mark. More than 100 thousand workers that don’t have a pension or other retirement fund through their employer are saving for the future with the program. Treasurer Frerichs explains how it works…



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs says it’s estimated that workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through payroll deductions.


(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in solving an attempted bank robbery that happened last week. The attempt happened on January 10 at the Champaign County Schools Employees Credit Union, located at 1203 South Mattis Avenue. Crime Stoppers officials said a man walked in at 3 p.m. and demanded money. The employees refused the demand and the man left without obtaining any money. He is Black and was wearing a face mask, a black Nike sweatshirt, black pants, white shoes and a light purple wig.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly is underway. New and old faces are back in the state capital preparing for the spring legislative session. State Representative Dan Caulkins talks about the upcoming sessions…



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man has been sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison for hitting a woman for the second time. 66 year old Reuben Johnson received the sentence after being found guilty of aggravated battery. 


(Washington-jm) – USDA has lowered its forecast for U.S. corn exports this marketing year. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – The first lawsuits have been filed against the state of Illinois’ new ban on certain guns the legislature deems assault weapons and more lawsuits are expected. Last week, on the final day of the 102nd General Assembly, the legislature and Governor J.B. Pritzker approved a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms. No future sales are allowed. Guns already in possession must be registered with Illinois State Police by January 1, 2024. Non compliance can bring a Class 2 felony. Magazines of more than 10 rounds for rifles and 15 rounds for handguns also are banned. Possession could be a petty offense and a fine of $1,000 for each violation. An emergency hearing for one of the lawsuits is scheduled for this morning.


(Springfield-jm) – This is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and a group of Illinois lawmakers is urging women to get screened. According to the National Cancer Institute, the survival rate for cervical cancer is 92 percent if caught early. Representative Anna Moeller (mole-ler) of Elgin says cases have declined over the years, but that women need to be vigilant…



State Representative Anna Moeller of Elgin. Moeller urges women to speak to their doctor about the screening, which includes a pap test and potentially an HPV test. That’s the virus that most often causes cervical cancer. It's recommended that pap tests begin at age 21.


(Springfield-jm) – A new survey finds that two-thirds of companies that are moving are doing so because they are expanding and need more office space. According to Crain’s, 82% of the companies with growing revenue want a better configuration and more space to accommodate employee growth. For a third of the companies seeking smaller offices, the main reason is an increase in remote work.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is announcing his transition team’s recommendations for improving the office. Ideas came from group members and the general public and cover a wide range of areas, says Secretary Giannoulias…



Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias says other recommendations he intends to make a top priority are ethics reforms and increasing access to e-books and online education resources at libraries across the state.


(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking for help in locating a woman whom they said never appeared in court to face aggravated battery charges. 

Cassie Arenibar, is facing two counts of aggravated battery. Out of jail on bond, officials said Arenibar never appeared in court, which resulted in an arrest warrant being issued. Arenibar is described as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 140 pounds in weight, and has brown hair and brown eyes.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly is getting underway. There are some new faces in both the House and Senate, but one of the familiar faces returning is State Representative Mike Marron. Marron is starting his 4th term in the statehouse and talks about some ideas he has for this legislative session…



State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.


(Undated-jm) – Illinois produced the most soybeans out of any state in the country in 2022. The Illinois Soybean Association announced that, after a slow start to the planting season, followed by a hot and dry summer, the?National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Illinois soybean farmers raised 677.25 million bushels on 10.75 million harvested acres with an average yield of 63 bushels per acre.


(Washington-jm) – The USDA has lowered its crop forecast for Argentina's corn and soybean crops. Gary Crawford reports…



Area lawmakers are continuing to react to the passage of the assault weapons ban

(Springfield-jm) – Despite Illinois’ efforts to smoothly integrate electric vehicles into the state’s economy, a new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute is warning of a potential steep decline in transportation revenue as the process of electrification accelerates. The primary issue is motor fuel taxes, which will see a significant drop as more electric vehicles make their way to the road and fewer people fill their cars with gas. Motor fuel tax is the state’s leading source of transportation funding and makes up 52 percent of Illinois’ total transportation revenue and 82 percent of its contributions to the federal highway trust fund. The report’s main policy recommendation is implementing a vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, fee which would replace the existing motor fuel tax with a fee determined by the number of miles a car travels on Illinois roads.


(Springfield-jm) – Area lawmakers are continuing to react to the passage of the assault weapons ban that Governor J-B Pritzker signed into law last week. One of those is 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Several county sheriff’s including Ford County’s Chad Johnson and Iroquois County’s Clint Perzee have said they will not enforce the ban saying it is unconstitutional. Governor Pritzker has told sheriff’s to do their jobs or they won’t be in a job.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man has been arrested for allegedly breaking a window at a business to steal cigarettes. Deilo Ware is charged with burglary, retail theft and aggravated assault for allegedly breaking the front window of the Walgreens on Philo Road in Urbana. Ware reportedly resisted arrest and threatened to hit officers. Bond was set at $100,000.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is asking the community to register their outdoor security cameras online. Police say this is voluntary and does not give direct access to your camera system. Registering your camera allows the Champaign police to contact registered owners to request video. Camera owners decide if they want to submit videos if they've been requested.


Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker is pushing to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. The proposal sets up an advisory board and creates a program where adults could use Psilocybin (sill-oh-cy-bin) to treat conditions like depression and anxiety. It’s sponsored by Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago who says it would have to be done under the supervision of a trained facilitator or therapy center…



State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. The “Illinois Cure Act” also decriminalizes mushrooms. Ford says people should have access to new treatment options. Several other states are considering similar legislation.


(Washington-jm) – American consumers are buying and trying more food items from other countries, despite rising prices for those items. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – An attorney in a case against the state of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Corrections says his lawsuit will progress even with the department making changes to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In April 2022, attorney and former GOP nominee for Attorney General Thomas DeVore filed a lawsuit against IDOC attempting to block Governor J.B. Pritzker's executive order requiring all workers to be vaccinated. DeVore said he was recently made aware the department removed its requirement for the vaccine. However, DeVore said this would not stop his lawsuit. DeVore claims the change in protocol comes from IDOC struggling to find workers. Those employees who are not vaccinated will still be required to test for the virus once a week, according to a department email DeVore shared. According to Devore, the mandate went into effect in 2021 and many workers have already been terminated after refusing to get the vaccine.


(Springfield-jm) – Area lawmakers are continuing to react to the passage of the assault weapons ban that Governor J-B Pritzker signed into law last week. State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet gives his thoughts on the bill…



State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet. Ford County Sheriff Chad Johnson and Iroquois County Sheriff Clint Perzee have both announced they will not enforce the ban or registry. Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Huerman said they will enforce the ban while it pans out in the legal system.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man who admitted he possessed a gun that he pointed at a woman to break up a fight has been sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison. Ah-Heem Carter-Brumfield received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Carter-Brumfield admitted to pointing a loaded gun at two women who were fighting in a parking lot of a convenience store. 


(Kankakee County-jm) – The death of an Arkansas man and woman is being treated as a murder-suicide in Kankakee County.   Illinois State Police and the County Coroner's Office investigated a call Wednesday along I-57.  A semi was located in the median after the call was answered around 1:30 pm. Officers found 40-year-old Michael J. Hendrickson inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  34-year-old Tiffany C. Hendrickson was found to be the driver.  She was the wife of Michael Henderickson.  She was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.  An autopsy showed both died of gunshot wounds to the head.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a law that expands protections and access to reproductive healthcare in Illinois. The comprehensive law aims to protect abortion and gender-affirming care patients and providers from out of state legal action, and lets physicians assistants and advanced practice nurses perform some abortions. Attorney General Kwame Raoul was at the bills signing…



Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. The measure also requires health insurers to offer Plan B morning after pill, HIV prevention medications and gender affirming meds to be covered at no cost to the patient.


(Washington-jm) – U.S. soybean exporters have three factors working against them right now. Gary Crawford reports…



The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper on Thursday from 5-7 pm at their station located at 134 W. State Street. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6-13. Deliveries are available in town by calling 217-202-6441.


Onarga American Legion Post 551 will host their fish fry on Friday from 4:30-7.


Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. It is a day to do a good service to others.

Today is Martin Luther King Junior Day. The pastor was a man of faith and was a protector of all rights for all people.  Banks, government offices, schools are all closed today to honor Martin Luther King Junior. It is also a day to do a good service to others.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker will be in Davos, Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum annual meeting. The Governor is participating in several roundtable talks, and is eager to highlight Illinois’ achievements…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he will also discuss the state’s electric vehicle initiatives and the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure program.


(Undated-jm) – The Illinois State Police are investigating two separate Scott's Law violations. On January 14 at around 2:33 am ISP officers began investigating a traffic crash involving an ISP Trooper squad car along interstate 57 northbound in Kankakee County. Bradley police located and stopped the suspect's Charger which belonged to 74-year-old Jonnie Wilson who was charged with a Scott's Law violation and Driving Under the Influence. The next incident happened the following day at 6 am on interstate 94 southbound in Cook County. The driver Nataly Guy was transported to a hospital with injuries and charged with a Scott's Law violation and Driving Under the Influence.


(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker is pushing to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. The new legislation is dubbed the “Illinois Cure Act” and is sponsored by Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. It paves the way for people to seek treatment for conditions like depression, PTSD and chronic pain using Psylocibin (sill-oh-cy-bin)...



State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. The bill also creates an advisory board, addresses rules and regulations and lifts criminal penalties for mushrooms.


(Washington-jm) – Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski announced this weekend that the U of I will receive more than $370,000 in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding is through the Department’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Congresswoman Budzinski’s office said the federal funding will be used for research on the synthesis of biologically active terpenoids, small bioactive molecules.


(Champaign-jm) – A man was arrested after he was involved in a police chase that started in Indiana and a carjacking in Champaign. Police say officers were called to an unknown incident” in the area of Prospect Avenue and Baytowne Drive. Champaign Police learned that the subject had carjacked a driver in the 2000 block of N. Prospect Avenue. The officers followed the vehicle until it came to a stop due to mechanical failure near County Road 2400, where the subject briefly fled on foot before being detained. Champaign Police arrested Ryan Hutchinson on initial charges including Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer, Vehicular Hijacking, Violating an Order of Protection, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Aggravated Fleeing, and Child Endangerment. Hutchinson is alleged to have fled a traffic stop in a stolen vehicle in Indiana, eluding law enforcement as he drove westbound on Interstate 74. A female and two children were located unharmed in the vehicle he had previously abandoned near North Prospect Avenue, which led to the charges of child endangerment.


(Springfield-jm) – The first few days of the 103rd General Assembly are in the books. Newly sworn in 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City thanked those who supported him…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Rantoul-jm) – How voters elect their representatives on the Rantoul village board could once again be changing. A 2018 referendum called for trustees to be elected by district instead of at large as had been the case. However, a petition started by former trustee Terry Workman, would change it back to trustees being voted at large. Voters will have to make a decision in the April 2023 election whether or not to switch back. Workman claims in the past it took at least 736 votes to be elected to the village board. Under the new way, some are only getting in with around 40 votes. Those that fought for the initial change to districts argue minority areas of the community are underrepresented. Rantoul Residents for Representation argued most of the people who signed the petition to switch back were from more affluent areas of the villages north side and do not represent areas of the former base. The group also argues that only one percent of the signatures calling for the referendum were African american. According to Illinois municipal codes, it cannot go into effect until spring of 2026. 


(Paxton–jc)  – Ford County leaders are set to meet next week and the subject is Arpa Funds. The meeting is set for 11am on Wednesday in the small courtroom in the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton


(Washington-jm) – Several factors are making it very difficult for analysts to project the size of Argentina's corn and soybean crops. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – Fifty-nine counties in Illinois are now rated at medium or high community levels for COVID-19 as of Friday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The number of counties has decreased by 14, compared to the previous week, with three Illinois counties at a High Community Level and 56 at a Medium Level.IDPH also reported on Friday there are 16,602 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois in the week ending January 8 and 113 deaths.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law that expands protections and access to reproductive healthcare in Illinois. The law expands the number of medical professionals who can perform abortions, lets patients get hormonal birth control over the counter from a pharmacist and shields patients and providers from any legal ramifications imposed by other states, says the Governor…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also requires the State Department of Public Health to work with organizations to provide grants for abortion training.


(Urbana-jm) – Champaign police are searching for the Chicago teen who made threats to Urbana High School, after the teen failed to show up for a sentencing hearing on Friday. This is the second time the 16-year-old and her mother did not show up for court. The first sentence hearing was scheduled for December 9, 2022, but the two did not make it due to transportation issues. The teen is required by law to appear in person. Her absence caused the judge to issue an arrest warrant. She was previously charged with disorderly conduct and making a terroristic threat, but the latter charge was dropped when she pleaded guilty back in December.


(Champaign-jm) – Rock legend Alice Cooper is coming to the State Farm Center in Champaign in May. Cooper will bring his Too Close for Comfort Tour to Champaign on May 9th. Tickets go on sale this Friday.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly is just beginning but its not without controversy. State Senator Chapin Rose talks about some of the controversial topics that came out of the lame duck session…



State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet. 


(Champaign-jm) – Researchers at the University of Illinois are looking into how robots can help older adults. They are teaming up with the Hello Robot Company to design a robot that can perform helpful tasks. Stretch the Robot, is five feet tall and has telescoping arms. Researchers said Stretch will help older people with cognitive impairment and limited mobility perform everyday tasks including, picking things up, opening cabinets, delivering medications and cleaning.


(Savoy-jm) – The Village of Savoy is planning to start phase two of the Curtis Road Complete Street and Grade Separation Project. Two million dollars in federal money will help pay for utility and right-of way acquisitions. The Village was one of more than 550 places across Illinois that applied for the money. This is just one part of their overall plan. The entire project is expected to cost more than $30 million. The project will make repairs to Curtis Road and make it safer for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and easier for emergency responders to navigate the railroad in town. That includes building an underpass. The Village already has more than $20 million from a combination of local, state and federal funding. That helps fill an $8 million gap. They will keep applying for more grants to reach their goal.


(Washington-jm) – South American farmers may be hoping that the current La Nina weather pattern gives way next year to an El Nino pattern. Gary Crawford reports…



Governor J-B Pritzker has some strong words for county sheriff's who say they won't be enforcing the new ban on assault weapons

(Springfield-jm) – A bill that limits Illinois counties’ power to regulate wind and solar farms is headed to the governor’s desk after the previous General Assembly approved the measure. Sponsors of House Bill 4412 in the 102nd General Assembly that ended Tuesday say it is needed to better attain the state’s renewable energy goals. Proponents said some counties have more development than others that have been restricting such projects, so the state needed to step in.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker has some strong words for county sheriff’s who say they won’t be enforcing the new ban on assault weapons. A number of Sheriff’s are taking a stance against the law, saying it’s unconstitutional. Governor Pritzker responds…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Gun rights groups say they could be filing a lawsuit against the ban as early as next week. Ford County Sheriff Chad Johnson and Iroquois County Sheriff Clint Perzee are among the sheriff’s that have said they won’t enforce the ban. Champaign County will enforce the ban.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois sports bettors continue to set records. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, $1.03 billion was bet on sports in the state, the second consecutive month the handle has topped the billion dollar mark. Illinois ranked third in the country in monthly handle behind New Jersey and New York. In November, Illinois surpassed Pennsylvania in sports betting revenue and is close to passing them in handle as well. During November, Illinois sportsbooks generated over $15 million for state and local coffers. Year-to-date through November, sports betting in Illinois has produced total tax revenue of more than $114 million.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is kicking off his term by implementing new ethics standards. Secretary Giannoulis signed an executive order that launches a review of state vehicle use, strengthens the office’s sexual harassment policies and prohibits threatening behavior. The goal is to boost the public’s trust…



Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. Other provisions reinforce rules that office employees and contractual workers cannot donate to the Secretary of State’s campaign fund.


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City is still working on rebuilding after a fire damaged multiple buildings on the Fourth of July. On Thursday, one of those buildings was torn down. Crews worked to clear the space where the bar Jay’s Place once stood.


(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign announced that a single lane of Bradley Ave. will temporarily close in three locations between 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday. The closure is due to work on a sewer lining project. Closure locations include: eastbound lane in the 300 block of E. Bradley, eastbound lane in the 500 block of E. Bradley and westbound lane in the 1700 block of W. Bradley.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly was sworn in this week in Springfield. State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian is starting his 4th term in office. He talks about his new district boundaries following the 2020 census…



State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been arrested following an investigation into a January 2023 homicide on Garden Hills Drive. On January 5, 2023, Champaign Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Garden Hills Drive for a report of a Shooting with Injuries. Upon arrival, officers located 21-year-old Jalen Williams from Champaign suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds to the chest. He later succumbed to his injuries. An investigation indicated that Williams was walking in the street with Zaire Herman, 21, of Champaign, when Herman opened fire, striking Williams. Herman then fled the scene on foot. Champaign Police arrested Herman for his involvement in this incident. He remains in the custody of the Champaign County Correctional Center awaiting arraignment on murder charges.


(Paxton–jc)  –  What’s next for the city of Paxton in the streetscape program.? Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the final touches are being completed on the first phase of the project and city leaders are now looking at the next two blocks in downtown Paxton…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Watseka-jm) – Officials in Iroquois County want residents to be aware of Radon poisoning. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is released through rocks, soil, and water. The odorless, colorless gas commonly seeps through home foundations into basements and crawl spaces. The Iroquois County Health Department is offering free testing kits to track Radon levels.


(Washington-jm) – What did USDA find when it released its first grain and rice stock forecasts for the new year? Rod Bain reports…



(Springfield-jm) – A new report by an inspector general for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shows 171 children died while in contact with the department last year, 40% more than the year before. Lawmakers are now demanding action.  The 248-page report released by the Illinois Inspector General shows that in 2022, 49 more children died while in the custody of DCFS than in 2021. That's a total of 171 children who died while on the department's radar or within 12 months after the department made contact with them. DCFS in Illinois receives $1.5 billion in taxpayer money annually. Republicans have called for the head of DCFS to resign. Pritzker blamed Republicans and the previous administration.



(Springfield-jm) – A measure requiring anyone installing a sprinkler system for a lawn in Illinois to have a licensed plumber hired for inspection is waiting for the Governor’s signature. House Bill 4245 requires irrigation contractors to have their work looked over by a state-licensed plumber or face a $10,000 fine.  The legislation also says that the inspecting licensed plumber shall make the physical connection between a lawn sprinkler system and the backflow prevention device.


(Springfield-jm) – Workers in Illinois would be entitled to 5 paid days of leave under a bill passed by lawmakers this week. As many as one and a half million workers in Illinois do not get any time off to take care of personal needs, says Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood…



Illinois Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood. Workers would be allowed to use the paid leave for any reason and up to 40 hours of unused time could be carried over annually.


(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Police said a man was scammed out of $5,000 in the summer during an Internet-based scam. Officials said the victim was searching online for a loan in August and found a website for this purpose. He provided his personal and banking information to the website, which promised to deposit funds into his checking account. After the funds were supposedly deposited, the victim was asked to send back a portion of those funds in cryptocurrency, which the victim did in four transactions. The victim later discovered that the funds were not deposited and that someone had used his identity to make fabricated fraud claims on his checking account. When the bank discovered this, they reversed the fraud claims, but the victim’s account became overdrawn by $5,000.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department, CPD, reported traffic stops were up 430.1 % in 2022. Officers pulled over 2,693 cars in 2022, which is a large increase from 508 cars in 2021. The department says COVID restrictions were the cause for the decline. During 2021, officers were only able to stop drivers committing the most flagrant offenses, like speeding and running red lights.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly is underway. State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur talks about legislation he will be bringing up…



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.


(Ford County-jm) – – January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging women ages 21 and older to speak with their physician or health care provider about cervical cancer screening and prevention this month and always. Most kinds of cervical cancer can be prevented with early ongoing screening. Each year approximately 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control reports that half of the cervical cancers occurred among women who are rarely or never screened for cervical cancer. The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides free cervical cancer screenings to uninsured and underinsured Illinois women between the ages of 35 and 64, regardless of income.  For more information on the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and preventative vaccines, please contact Kristin Buhs, IBCCP Nurse Client Patient Navigator at Ford County Public Health Department at 217-379-9281.


(Paxton–jc) Paxton Park District officials continue to thank the local businesses in the area that support programs at the local park district. The youth basketball program is set to begin on January 21st and Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans says there are a lot of sponsors…



Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans. 43 teams and over 400 kids are involved in youth basketball at the Paxton Park District. Areas include Paxton, Gibson City to Cissna Park.


(Champaign-jm) – In order to install lighting for the University of Illinois, Champaign Signal and Lighting will close one eastbound lane and one westbound lane of Kirby Avenue between First Street and Fourth Street. The closures will begin on Monday and will end on Friday. Eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane and westbound traffic will also be reduced to one lane in the area. Lane closures will occur during working hours only and will be reopened overnight.


(Washington-jm) – Corn and soybean markets got some surprises in USDA's revised production estimates. Gary Crawford reports…



The Gifford Fire Department will hold their pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 7-1 at the German Fall Festival Building.


The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce will host Glo Bingo on Friday, February 10th at the Pueblo Lindo Event Center. Doors open at 6 with Bingo beginning at 7.


The 34th annual Paxton Buckley Loda FFA Farm Toy Show will take place on Saturday, February 11th from 9 to 2:30 at PBL High School.


St. John’s Lutheran School annual Chicken Dinner, Carnival and Auction on Sunday, February 19th.




The 103rd General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday, with plenty of new faces and pledges to work together

(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday, with plenty of new faces and pledges to work together. Don Harmon has been elected Senate President for a third term and spoke about the need for lawmakers to maintain the highest ethical standards. He quoted a former Chicago Police Superintendent who issued this warning to new officers…



Senate President Don Harmon. A new Republican leader was selected, Senator John Curran…



Senate Republican Leader John Curran. House Speaker Chris Welch was elected to another term and the House GOP Leader is now Tony McCombie.


(Springfield-jm) – Local lawmakers were also among those sworn in Wednesday. Mike Marron is entering his 4th term in the Illinois House and spoke about the 103rd General Assembly…



State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian. Tom Bennett is taking on a new role in Illinois politics. Bennett, the former 106th District State Representative, took his oath, becoming the newest 53rd District State Senator following the retirement of Jason Barickman…



New 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Paul Faraci was sworn in as the new 52nd District State Senator replacing the late Scott Bennett.


(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Police said an automated license plate reader helped them arrest a woman accused of taking part in an armed road rage incident earlier this week. University Police officials said a witness called them on Tuesday to report that someone displayed a gun during the incident, which happened on Kirby Avenue between Neil and Fourth Streets. Using information from a license plate reader unit, police were able to locate the offender’s car within minutes. The car was pulled over in Urbana on Lincoln Avenue and the driver, 37-year-old Sashay Pirant of Rantoul, was arrested. She was booked into the Champaign County Jail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon, disorderly conduct and aggravated assault.


(Watseka-jm) – Many counties in Illinois have no plans to enforce the newly enacted assault weapons ban, according to letters released Wednesday. The Protect Illinois Communities Act was passed through the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor J-B Pritzker Tuesday. It halts the sale of assault weapons in the state of Illinois and requires owners of such weapons to register them with local law enforcement before the end of 2023. The first central Illinois sheriff to announce they will not enforce the ban is Iroquois County Sheriff Clint Perzee, in a letter to residents. Other central Illinois counties that have confirmed will not enforce the ban include Logan County, Piatt County, McLean County and DeWitt County. Governor Pritzker said in his bill-signing news conference that all Illinoisans will be required to follow the law and that there will be no option for non-compliance.


(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary recently shared his thoughts on a new Farm Bill and what he hopes it is able to accomplish. Rod Bain reports…



(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man with prior convictions has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for having a gun and resisting arrest. Linnez Blount received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty in two separate cases. In the first case, Bloun admitted to having a loaded pistol on him when he was arrested for shoplifting at the Urbana Walmart. He received 8 years for that case. In the other case, he resisted arrest after he was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by police. He was wanted for failure to appear on charges of armed violence and forgery. He received a year for that case.


(Champaign-jm) – C-U at Home’s annual community awareness and fundraising event combines familiar activities with fresh experiences this year. One Winter Night 2023 will take place Friday, February 3 at The Venue CU in downtown Champaign, on the University of Illinois campus, and remotely at area churches. The Venue CU at 51 E. Main in Champaign will serve as the primary community location where people can participate in the homeless simulation/fundraising experience by staying outside from 6 pm to midnight in tents, makeshift shelters, or cars. There will also be a program inside from 7-9 pm for both simulation participants and anyone in the community who is interested in just attending the program.


(Springfield-jm) – The 103rd General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday, with plenty of new faces and pledges to work together. House Speaker Chris Welch has been re-elected to lead the chamber…



House Speaker Chris Welch. Representative Tony McCombie is the new GOP leader in the House…



House GOP Leader Tony McCombie. In the Senate,  Don Harmon will continue as President and the Minority Leader is John Curran.


(Springfield-jm) – Local lawmakers were also among those sworn in Wednesday. State Representative Chris Miller of Oakland is returning for his 3rd term and prior to the ceremony said House Republicans need to keep pushing back against the Democrat agenda…



State Representative Chris Miller of Oakland. Representative Miller’s new 110th legislative district goes as far south as Lawrenceville and as far north as Hoopeston, encompassing Representative Mike Marron’s 104th District. State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur is also entering his 3rd term in the House. He talks about the 103rd General Assembly…



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur. Paul Faraci was sworn in as the new 52nd District State Senator replacing the late Scott Bennett.


(Ford County-jm) – A new crime-fighting tool is on the way to Ford County, but not one that you may think. This one will have four legs and a tail. Chad Johnson, the Ford County Sheriff, is establishing a K9 program. He says the dog will help alleviate drug use. Johnson said Ford County has never had a K9 program before. He used to be a K9 officer in Paxton.


(Gibson City-jm) – Hustedt Jewelers recently gave an update to the Gibson City community on its store after it and several surrounding buildings were damaged by  fire in July. The jewelry store shared on Facebook that cleaning up the interior of the building has been an “extremely lengthy and stressful process” due to the extensive damage. They said they are still working with insurance companies and other similar people about all of their options.


(Washington-jm) – The U.S. is seeing export sales increases for more than just bulk agricultural commodities. Gary Crawford reports…



(Champaign-jm) – Modern problems require modern solutions, so the city of Champaign wants to bring police recruitment into the 21st century. The City Council decided to work with a private firm to design a digital marketing campaign that will attract new officers. The money was set aside for that purpose years ago, but the project was put on the back-burner once the pandemic hit. Since then, the department has become more strained by a staffing shortage. Although they’ve been rebounding, city officials say there’s still work left to do. After facing a significant staffing shortage, the department hired 22 officers last year. They were especially successful in hiring experienced officers, but there are still 17 vacancies – and they’re hoping for a diverse candidate pool to choose from.

(Watseka-jm) – - Iroquois Memorial Hospital will be holding their “Know Your Numbers” Lab Fair Monday, January 16th through Saturday, January 21st from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, along with a free community health fair in the main lobby each morning.


Illinois House passes the Senate's version of the assault weapons ban

(Springfield-jm) – For a 33rd month in a row, Governor J.B. Pritzker has reissued his COVID-19 disaster proclamation. According to the governor's website compiling all the proclamations and executive orders, the 37th published proclamation expired January 6. Pritzker has issued consecutive monthly COVID-19 disaster proclamations since March 2020. The proclamations give the governor the authority to issue a range of executive orders impacting the economy, education, health care and more. While the governor has relaxed many of the mandates over the span of nearly three years, he maintained last summer he keeps the disaster proclamations going to be in line with the federal disaster proclamation as a way to capture more federal funds. Of $4.4 trillion in total obligations from federal COVD-19 tax funds, Illinois has at least $107 billion of that in obligations, according to Of all neighboring states, Illinois has more per capita of obligation from COVID-19 federal tax funds.


(Springfield-jm) – Yesterday was the final day of the 112th General Assembly. It was also the final day for 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Barickman spoke before the Senate for the final time Tuesday…



Retiring 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City will take over when they are sworn in today. Tuesday was also House Minority Leader Jim Durkin’s last day in office and he’s offering some advice to fellow Republicans. Leader Durkin served in the Illinois House for 28 years and led GOP lawmakers since 2013. He says it’s bittersweet leaving and talks about why he made the decision…



Retiring House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.  Durkin says Illinois Republicans will get lost if they lean too far right. He says the party should not be one of extremists.


(Springfield-jm) – The Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new website that tracks the levels of COVID-19 in wastewater samples in Illinois. Officials say the interactive online tool builds on the statistics posted on the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker website and provides more Illinois-specific data in easy-to-understand charts. On the new site, visitors can search by city or county for up-to-date figures and trendlines from any one of 75 wastewater treatment plants around Illinois that are voluntarily collecting samples of raw sewage to be screened for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Monitoring wastewater for the coronavirus has been proven to be an accurate and cost-effective way to measure COVID-19’s presence in a community.


(Springfield–jc)  –The Illinois House Tuesday afternoon, passed the Senate’s version of the assault weapons ban.  According to the bill’s sponsor, HB5471, will prevent the sale, manufacture, possession and purchase of assault-style weapons, assault weapon attachments, and .50 caliber cartridges in the state of Illinois.   The bill would in addition expedite the implementation of universal background checks, but would not change the age range for Firearm Owners Identification cards. Reaction from 101st District State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur…



101st District State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur. Governor J-B Pritzker signed the law making Illinois the ninth state in the country to ban assault weapons. Lawmakers passed the bill and the Governor signed it right away, saying “we got it done”...



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Anyone currently owning a semi-automatic firearm will have to register it with the State Police. Governor Pritzker says he’s confident the ban will hold up in court.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for punching a teenage Walmart employee. George Martin pleaded guilty to aggravated battery for the incident.  Martin had been on parole after serving 26 years for a 1994 murder.


(Champaign–jc)  – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in a single-family home at 1311 Williamsburg Dr., Tuesday, January 10, at 10:17 a.m.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire in the home.  Firefighters responded to a report of a fire in this single-story residence.  Once on the scene, fire crews reported heavy smoke and fire coming from a bedroom at the rear of the home.  Firefighters deployed multiple hose lines and quickly extinguished the fire.     The cause of this fire is accidental and was attributed to an electrical appliance.  There were no firefighter or occupant injuries reported.  The occupants will be displaced because of this fire.


(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm. DeShawn Buford received the sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Buford admitted to tossing a gun he was not licensed to possess out the window of a car after his girlfriend received minor injuries from a bullet fired at Buford’s car. Buford took his girlfriend to the Carle Clinic in Rantoul for treatment before leaving and leading police on a short chase.  He was given credit for 72 days served.


(Watseka-jc) – Iroquois County Clerks officials remind the public to make sure to register to vote. Information on the process is found by calling the County Clerk’s Office in Watseka from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Additionally you may register to vote online. The website is: iroquois county il dot gov slash elections. In order to be eligible to vote at the polls for the April 4, 2023 consolidated elections, the last day to register in the County Clerk’s Office is Tuesday, March 7, 2023. The last day to register online is March 19.


(Washington-jm) – This week's USDA round of reports will get a lot of attention. Gary Crawford reports…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett will take over for former 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman

(Springfield-jm) – 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City will take over for former 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman. Bennett will serve the remainder of Barickman’s 2 year term.


(Springfield-jm) – As he was sworn in for his second term as Governor, J-B Pritzker discussed some of his priorities for the next four years. After taking the Oath of Office the Governor expressed his love for Illinois and its people. He said he will continue on making sure kids get off to a good start…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he also wants to make college free for working families, fight hate crimes and work towards making healthcare more affordable.


(Chicago-jm) – The racketeering trial of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been set for April 1, 2024. The trial, which could last up to two months, was scheduled during a status hearing Monday. A federal grand jury indicted Madigan and his confidant Michael McLean after a years-long corruption investigation. Madigan is accused of leading a criminal enterprise for nearly a decade to enhance his political power and generate income for his allies.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers have passed a supplemental spending bill that further boosts the state’s rainy day fund, helps hospitals and gives top government officials a raise. The measure also includes 400 million dollars to enticing businesses to come to Illinois and 160 million to handle the influx of immigrants sent here from Texas. But most of the debate centered on the pay increase for lawmakers, state agency heads and constitutional officers that’s included in the bill. Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago…



State Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago. 850 million dollars will go to the rainy day fund, which has been steadily replenished, and 460 million is slated for the state’s hospitals.


(Undated-jm) – Miss Ford County 2022, Gracelyn Greenburg, will compete in the 2023 Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs State Queen Pageant at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois. The dates for the competition are Thursday, January 19 through Sunday, January 22, 2023. Gracelyn will be competing with 72 other County Fair Queens for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair Queen 2023. Miss Ford County will officially compete on stage as Contestant #17 in the Saturday afternoon preliminaries beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the Ruby/Diamond room on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza.


(Mahomet-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking the public for help in locating a man wanted for two crimes. Trenton Willis is charged with unlawful restraint and driving under the influence. Last known to be living in Mahomet, Willis is described as being six feet tall, weighing 200 pounds and having brown hair and brown eyes.


(Paxton–jc)  What will the city look like next year, in 5 years in 20 years and beyond? That is a question that Paxton city leaders would like to have more answers too with a “mapping” project. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says some tools are available to assist cities in planning on its future…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

(Champaign-jm) – The longtime manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau is leaving. Brad Uken announced he is leaving the farm bureau at the end of the month to become the chief administrative officer for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. Uken served as manager for Champaign County since 2003. Uken was appointed to fill the remainder of Tim Johnson’s term on the Parkland College Board back in June, which he plans to finish out when it ends in April.


(Washington-jm) – The latest USDA numbers for agricultural trade continue to show higher exports and much higher ag. product imports. Gary Crawford reports…



(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Police continue to search for a suspect who damaged eight air conditioning units in champaign. Between 5 p.m. on December 16 and 3:20 a.m. on December 17, an unknown suspect damaged eight air conditioning units located in the parking area at 202 East Green Street in Champaign. Security cameras captured images of a person of interest in the area at the time of the crime. The subject was described as a middle-aged white male. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, grey or olive-green hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants, and boots.


(Springfield-jm) – As he was sworn in for his second term as Governor, J-B Pritzker discussed some of his priorities for the next four years. Governor Pritzker spoke during the inauguration ceremony, saying one of his top goals is to make preschool available to every family across the state. He also wants to bring down the cost of higher education…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says he would also like to see reproductive rights be solidified in the state constitution.


(Moline-jm) – The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ right to repair their own farm equipment. The Illinois Farm Bureau announced the MOU, saying the issue has been a long-standing one for farmers and the agreement gives farmers access to tools, information and resources to repair their own equipment.


(Springfield-jm) – A deal has been reached on legislation banning assault weapons. The bill passed the Senate on a 34 to 20 vote. It bans the manufacture and sale of certain firearms, rapid fire devices and 50 caliber rifles. It limits magazines in long guns to 10 and handguns can hold 15 rounds. Senate President Don Harmon presented the measure…



State Senate President Don Harmon. The bill will  require those who currently have assault rifles to register the serial number with the State Police. It also sets up a task force to fight the trafficking of guns into Illinois. The House Speaker and Governor praised the measure, which now must be passed by the house.


(Gifford-jm) – Two cats were killed in a house fire in Gifford on Sunday that also left the occupants displaced. Gifford Fire says the house was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters from Gifford, Rantoul and Ludlow arrived. The fire was extinguished within 45 minutes, but firefighters faced difficulty in extinguishing a large library of books that were inside. The occupants were at church when the fire started and were not home as a result. They said there were five cats in the home; two were found dead while the other three could not be accounted for. No one was hurt and the State Fire Marshal determined the fire was caused by an electrical issue.


(Urbana-jm) – A team at the University of Illinois received a USDA grant in the amount of $2.5 million to investigate uses for food waste and swine manure. According to the university, the U.S. produces millions of tons of food and agricultural waste. Converting this waste into useful products such as pavement and fuel could help reduce the high cost of managing waste while also mitigating environmental impact.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court has put a halt on the implementation of the Safe-T Act. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has the latest…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul teen has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for a 2021 July 4th shooting. Deleon Moffett pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to aggravated battery with a firearm. Moffett admitted he shot a man on Maplewood Drive in Rantoul on July 4, 2021. 4 people including two juveniles were injured in the shooting. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges alleging he shot the others were dropped. A second person, Teigan Hunt pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced to 3 years in prison.


(Undated-jm) – We are in the second week of January, but how are we doing on snowfall? State Climatologist Trent Ford has those details…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for holding a woman in a hotel room against her will. Mario Jones pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint. Police say Jones detained a woman in a hotel room in Urbana. Police received two calls of a woman saying she was being threatened. The first time they arrived the people in the room said everything was fine. The second time they arrived they found the door locked and barricaded. Once they got in the room, they found the woman tied up and Jones was arrested.


Illinois is one of several states poised to allow online casino-style gaming

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois is one of several states poised to allow online casino-style gaming to help offset pandemic relief funding losses, a new report indicates.  A report by said states have bills to pay and with federal funds drying up, they may look to alternative revenue sources instead of raising taxes on their residents. Illinois already allows online sports betting, which has been a cash cow for the state. Since March 2020, Illinois has become one of the top sports betting markets in the country. Researchers say Illinois is one of five states to watch in 2023 for possible online casino legalization.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers passed legislation making it easier for people to change the gender on their birth certificate. Under the bill, those not identifying with the gender on their birth certificate can get it updated without a doctor’s note, says Senator Laura Fine of Glenview…



State Senator Laura Fine of Glenview. Fine says this brings birth certificate requirements in line with Illinois driver’s license. Those seeking a change can choose the gender designation of male, female or x.



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois households now pay over three times more than they did nearly two decades ago to cover the cost of state pensions. According to Illinois Policy Institute, each Illinois household spent $2,769 to fund government pensions in 2021, paying the third most for government workers’ retirements in the U.S. despite leading the nation in debt. State and local pensions cost homeowners $808 a year in 2002.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois legislature is wrapping up the lame duck session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the schedule for this week…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Champaign-jm) – The Democratic Party Chairs for Champaign and Vermilion chose Champaign Township Assessor Paul Faraci to replace the late Sen. Scott Bennett as Senator for the 52nd District in the 103rd General Assembly. Faraci has lived in the Champaign area for 45 years. He has a long history of working in local and state government, including for the State Treasurer’s office. The party chairs picked Faraci from a group of 10 applicants. He will serve out the full two year term that Bennett was elected to. He will be sworn in with the rest of the General Assembly on Wednesday in Springfield.


(Rantoul-jm) – A Champaign man is facing a disorderly conduct charge after prosecutors said he made a false bomb threat toward his Rantoul workplace last week. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Andrew Vasen, 28, was at Rantoul Foods on December 30 when he started acting erratically, disturbing other employees. He was ultimately removed from the building but threatened there was a bomb inside. He also made other statements that caused concern about his mental state. Reitz said the bomb threat turned out to be false. Champaign County Sheriff’s records indicate that Vasen has been released from the Champaign County Jail. He is due in court next on March 14.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department  reported shootings are down by about 50%. In 2021, there were 259 shootings. In 2022, there were approximately 124.


(Champaign-jm) – In updating our story from Friday. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has identified the 21-year-old Champaign man that died following a shooting in the Garden Hills neighborhood Thursday night. The shooting happened just after 5:30 p.m. on Garden Hills Drive near Bradley Avenue. Northrup identified the victim as Jalen Williams. Responding officers were advised that there had been a shooting with injuries and found Williams had suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds to the chest. Their initial investigation indicated that the victim was walking in the street with an unidentified man, who shot Williams and ran away.


(Springfield-jm) – About 30,700 mail-in ballots in Illinois were rejected statewide in last year’s November election, according to preliminary data from the Illinois State Board of Elections. Data shows a total of more than 2.2 million mail-ballots were requested across the state for November's election. More than 657,000 were returned with around 626,300 counted.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House is voting to expand and protect reproductive rights in Illinois. The legislation shields abortion providers and patients from any legal trouble and ensures patients can get over the counter birth control. It’s sponsored by Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago…



State Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago. The bill also requires public colleges to have at least one vending machine on campus with plan B emergency contraceptives and mandates insurance coverage of HIV prevention drugs, gender affirming medications and drugs to induce abortion. The Senate has similar legislation, although it does not address gender affirming healthcare.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that 2022 set cannabis sales records in all categories. This includes number of items sold, sales totals to Illinois and out-of-state residents, and sales total by month. For the year, Illinois adult-use cannabis dispensaries sold $1.5 billion worth of product, an increase of more than 12% from 2021 and 131% from 2020, the first year cannabis sales were first legally allowed in Illinois.


(Springfield-jm) – The Democratic majority passed an 18 percent pay raise for themselves late Friday night. It would raise legislator pay to $85,000. State Representative Mark Batinick spoke on behalf of the Republican caucus…



State Representative Mark Batinick of Plainfield. The measure passed along party lines with all Republicans voting against the measure.


(Champaign-jm) – Illinois State Police officials reported that one person is dead in the crash on Interstate 57. The crash happened at 3 p.m. south of Monticello Road and involved two vehicles. Officials said the passenger vehicle was driving northbound when, for unknown reasons, the car went off the roadway, crossed the median and entered the southbound lanes and hit the truck. The driver of the car, identified by Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup as 22 year old Frank Vargas of Highland, Indiana, was pronounced dead on-scene. The driver of the semi was transported to an area hospital with injuries. An autopsy on Vargas is scheduled for today.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois system has removed its COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements for students and faculty. They are no longer required to be fully vaccinated against the virus or test regularly. The university will continue testing at the SHIELD Illinois community site, Monday through Friday. 


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign woman is in custody less than a week after Crime Stoppers asked for help in locating her. An arrest warrant issued on December 28 charged Angelia Gant, 47, with aggravated discharge of a firearm. Champaign County Crime Stoppers included her as part of its Crime of the Week release on Monday and on Friday, Gant was taken into custody. The warrant was issued in connection to a shooting incident on October 9 in the area of Country Fair Drive and White Street. Gant is accused of firing a shot in the direction of her ex-boyfriend during a post-breakup dispute.


(Vermilion County-jm) – The search for a permanent administrator of the Vermilion County Public Health Department continues. Only two applicants have applied for the position. The opening comes after Doug Toole resigned in November after being with the health department since 1992. Jana Messmore is serving as interim administrator.


A resolution to the legal challenge to a law eliminating cash bail in Illinois is months away

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says progress is being made in finalizing legislation banning assault weapons in Illinois. The Governor says he believes they will get the bill passed, after some fine tuning…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Opponents say they are not willing to negotiate and that the bill violates the second amendment. We will hear more from the governor on this topic on later newscasts today


(Springfield-jm) – A resolution to the legal challenge to a law eliminating cash bail in Illinois is months away. Oral arguments will take place before the Illinois Supreme Court in March. The Pretrial Fairness Act that abolishes cash bail was set to go into effect on New Year’s Day, but the state’s highest court suspended implementation on New Year’s Eve. Dozens of state’s attorneys argued the measure violates the Illinois Constitution, and a Kankakee County judge agreed last month.


(Springfield-jm) – There’s a renewed push to explore offshore wind energy in Illinois. Senator Robert Peters of Chicago is sponsoring legislation with the goal of setting up wind ports in Lake Michigan. The proposed pilot project is called “Rust Belt to Green Belt” and would be a huge boost to the city, says Peters…



State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. The bill directs the state to seek federal funding to build offshore wind ports near the southeast side of Chicago. Peters says it needs to be passed quickly so Illinois doesn’t miss out on the opportunity.


(Decatur-jm) – A central Illinois school district is recommending masks be worn inside all of their facilities. On their Facebook page, the Decatur Public School District said that masks are “highly recommended” for all students, staff, parents, volunteers and visitors when inside all DPS facilities. They cited the fact that Macon County is at a high risk transmission level for COVID-19.


(Paxton–jc)  –   43 teams and over 400 kids. Those are two numbers for the Paxton Park District 20-23 youth basketball program. Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans says the teams come from Gibson City to Paxton to Cissna Park and the number of kids participating is amazing…



Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans. Youth basketball starts on January 21st.


(Savoy-jm) – The Village of Savoy is getting closer to hiring a full-time fire chief. It’s something that’s been in the works for about a year. They’ve always had volunteers, but never someone on a full-time salary. Their current chief and the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association both recommended creating the position. They've interviewed 15 people and are down to their final two. They hope to have the final person hired and in place by March 1.


(Paxton–jc) After months of research and getting input from city police, city alderman to business leaders, officials with the city of Paxton are ready to hear more about license plate readers. The city council meets on Tuesday night and the subject is expected to be a topic. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the program, if implemented, would be used for specific crimes…


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. The council meets Tuesday night at 7 on the second floor of city hall.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus elected state Representative Carol Ammons, of Urbana, to become the next Joint Chairwoman. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus was founded in 1968. Since that time, 157 African-American legislators have served. She will be inaugurated on January 11 at 4 p.m. at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre hotel.


(Champaign-jm) – A Savoy man is facing drug and weapon charges. Muhammed Savage is charged with possession of meth and aggravated unlawful use of weapons for having a gun but no FOID card. A Champaign officer spotted Savage traveling at a high rate of speed and conducted a traffic stop. Savage had an outstanding warrant. A search came up with 24 grams of meth and over $8,000 in cash in his shoes. A loaded handgun was found in his car. A search of his hotel room found 8 hydrocodone pills, a bag of psychedelic mushrooms and two loaded handgun magazines.

(Springfield-jm) – Revamped assault weapon ban legislation has emerged in Springfield. This new version bans the sale of assault weapons, rapid fire devices and magazines with more than 12 rounds, says House Speaker Chris Welch. Current owners will be able to keep their firearms…



House Speaker Chris Welch. Unlike the previous version, this bill does not raise the age for a FOID card to 21. It was approved by a House committee and now heads to the House floor for a vote.


(Springfield-jm) – A new bill would protect out-of-state people seeking healthcare in Illinois from legal troubles is passing through the Illinois legislature. Democratic leaders formed a legislative working group after the Supreme Court ruled that abortion rights should be left up to the states. If passed, the bill would protect anyone, regardless of gender identity from out of state seeking abortions in Illinois would not have to report the care they received back in their home state. Along with abortion, the bill offers protections for gender-affirming care and assisted reproduction, like artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.


(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing a new milestone in Illinois’ Organ and Tissue Donor Program. Seven and a half million people have now signed up for the organ registry, offering to give the gift of life when they pass. Secretary White says even more are needed…



Secretary of State Jesse White. White says about 300 people in Illinois die each year waiting for a transplant. You can sign up to be a donor online at: life goes on dot com.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department released on Thursday its review of 2022, and chief among their findings was that gun violence decreased by 50% between 2021 and 2022. Department officials said reducing gun violence was one of three key priorities the department set for 2022. Their efforts succeeded in lowering the number of shooting incidents from 259 to 129. Homicides were also reduced from 17 to nine. Champaign Police added that an arrest was made in all but one of those 2022 homicide investigations.


(Savoy-jm) – The University of Illinois’ Willard Airport is set to see some changes in the next few years, with some of those changes already in place or coming very soon. American Airlines’ regional affiliate Envoy will start flying to Dallas-Fort Worth with 76-seat planes, an upgrade from the 50-seat planes previously used on that route. In addition, the new planes will include 12 first class seats; it’s the first time American Airlines has offered a first class product in Champaign-Urbana. In addition to upgrading current service routes, officials at Willard are looking to expand their service to new destinations. The master plan would expand and modernize the existing facility to meet future travel demands and improve passenger experience, that includes an additional baggage claim carousel and renovated restrooms. In addition, the terminal’s TSA facilities would be relocated and expanded to be brought up to standard; the current building is pre-9/11 and unable to accommodate the enhanced security requirements and space standards put in place in 2001 and 2002. This includes a larger passenger queue line and expanded baggage screening areas. In addition to the terminal upgrades, the master plan will also bring the airport up to FAA taxiway design standards to improve airfield safety, new aircraft reuse and firefighting facilities and ensure cooperation between the airport and local communities regarding use of land both on and adjacent to airport property.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man is facing charges after he was accused of peeping in windows at a nursing home. Joshua Payne is accused of looking into a window at University Rehabilitation Center and exposing himself. Payne has several prior convictions for peeping in windows. He was freed on his own recognizance and is due back in court February 28th.


(Mahomet-jm) – A woman was arrested after a "brief chase" with police. The Champaign County Sheriff's says a Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Zaire Drumgoole for an Illinois Vehicle Code violation observed at Prairie View Road and Interstate 74. The deputy initiated a traffic stop, and the vehicle made an illegal u-turn and traveled away from the deputy at a high rate of speed. Authorities say the vehicle then got on I-74 westbound and increased their speed. The Deputy then terminated the pursuit of the vehicle. The Mahomet Police Department saw the vehicle exit I-74 and then get onto Route 47. Mahomet Officers say they saw the vehicle enter a subdivision, shut the vehicle lights off, and park in a driveway of a residence. The Mahomet Police Department and Champaign County Sheriff's Office made contact with Drumgoole and took her into custody.

Illinois sure experienced a mixed bag of weather to kick off winter last month

(Springfield-jm) – New changes to Firearm Owners' Identification cards.As of January 1, the Illinois State Police will automatically renew a person’s FOID card. Now, with a full set of fingerprints, it will be easier for people to get their FOID cards renewed. ISP said the automatic renewal will allow staff to focus on clear and present danger reports, firearm restraining orders, and FOID correlations and enforcement. The Illinois State Police will check the fingerprints against all available state and local criminal history record files. If you apply for a FOID card, you can include the full set of fingerprints transmitted through a live scan fingerprint vendor. But those vendors must be a part of the approved vendor list. The fingerprints will then be kept on file for potential automatic renewals.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says he feels comfortable that the no-cash bail portion of the Safe-T Act will be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Pre-Trial Fairness Act was ruled unconstitutional by a Kankakee County Judge and now the state has appealed to the Supreme Court. At an unrelated press conference, the Governor was asked for his reaction…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The state Supreme Court has issued a stay on the no-cash bail law while the matter is reviewed.



(Paxton-jm) – A 26-year-old Decatur man is under arrest after Paxton Police said he was caught in a child predator sting last month. Paxton Police said they started investigating Dylan Conerty on August 7 when they learned he contacted a 14-year-old girl. The investigation developed enough evidence to warrant his arrest and Conerty was arrested during a traffic stop on December 29. He is facing four charges: Traveling to meet a minor, Indecent solicitation of a child, Solicitation to meet a child, Exploitation of a child. The sting Conerty was caught in has been active since the summer and at least 11 other men have been arrested as a result.


(Rantoul–jc)  A streetscape project is under consideration for the village of Rantoul. A business building continues to be built on the village’s west side and more development is set for this year in Rantoul. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says sales tax figures are also up in Rantoul…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

Village leaders are expected to look into the next steps of a streetscape program when they meet next week at village hall. 


(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign County judge has delayed the sentencing of an 18 year old convicted of murder. Amari Robinson was found guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of Martin Morrow. The delay comes after Robinson fired her public defenders and hired a pair of attorneys. A second person also accused of the shooting is awaiting trial. If convicted, Robinson faces a minimum of 45 years in prison.


(Mahomet-jm) – A Mahomet man remains behind bars accused of forging checks. Matthew Bushman is charged with 4 counts of forgery and one count of continuing financial crimes enterprise. According to Champaign Police, Bushman allegedly cashed 3 forged checks at a currency exchange on north Prospect Avenue on November 28th, 30th and December 2nd. Those checks totaled more than $3,400 and were from a closed account at a Bloomington bank for a construction company. On December 16th, Bushman allegedly tried to cash a check written on a Savoy couple's account at First Federal Bank in the amount of $15,000. A bank official noticed the numeric amount did not match the written amount and asked him to fill out additional paperwork but Bushman fled. A Mahomet police officer arrested Bushman after he allegedly presented counterfeit cash at two different stores in town. A search of his vehicle turned up a box containing blank checks, other people’s W-2 earnings forms and utility bills. He admitted to being paid to do it. 


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man wanted for arson has been arrested. Kristian Williams was charged with residential arson and aggravated battery. Police say Williams set fire to an apartment on Kenwood Drive on December 16th. If convicted on that charge he faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison. He also has 3 pending felony cases. Williams was also wanted for a November 24th aggravated battery for allegedly knocking out a person with a piece of concrete with rebar in it. He has not yet been arraigned on that case.


(Washington-jm) – Will this new year be an even better one for farmers and for the ag. Economy? Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois sure experienced a mixed bag of weather to kick off winter last month. The statewide average temperature for December was 29.4 degrees, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, says State Climatologist Trent Ford. The first half of the month was warmer than normal, but then an arctic blast set in mid-December…



State Climatologist Trent Ford. Ford says it’s unusual to see temperatures get that cold in December. He notes that last month was the first time since July that precipitation was above normal. Far southern Illinois saw the most, with over 5 inches.


(Savoy-jm) – The man arrested in relation to the murder of four University of Idaho students was photographed during a refueling stop in Champaign's Willard Airport. The photos provided by TMZ, show Kohberger being led by law enforcement agents from the plane to the airport. Kohberger is in the process of being extradited to Idaho where he will likely go to court this week.


(Urbana-jm) – The new year did not bring an end to University of Illinois students being scammed over the phone, as U of I Police report the first scams they’ve become aware of in 2023. Three of the scams happened in December and were only just reported to police after the new year while the third happened on Tuesday. In total, scammers got nearly $10,000.


(Watseka-jm) – The Watseka Park District is teaming up with Sorensen Wilder & Associates to offer an Active Shooter/Intruder Training Program in Watseka.  The training program invites businesses, schools and individuals to attend one of two sessions on Tuesday, January 17 at the Elk's Lodge.  Sessions will be held 8 am - !2 noon and again from 1 - 5 pm. A $20 fee per-person if registered by January 10.  After that, a fee of $25.  Space is limited so early registration is recommended.  Contact the Watseka Park District for info 815-432-3931.


(Champaign-jm) – A man was arrested near Fifth and Healey streets, Champaign, for battery. The Champaign Police Department says Jeulius K. Johnson, 27, was identified as the person who head-butted and punched a maintenance employee the previous day at an apartment building in the 400 block of East Healey Street, Champaign. The employee received minor injuries. He was assessed on-site by medical personnel who determined that hospitalization was not necessary. Officials say the attack occurred after the employee asked Johnson to leave the property.


(Washington-jm) – Will food shoppers see prices finally dropping in 2023? Gary Crawford reports…



Tornados reported in several counties including damage southeast of Gibson City

(Gibson City-jm) – Severe weather came through the area Tuesday evening bringing heavy rain and tornadoes. A confirmed tornado touched down southeast of Gibson City causing damage to two homesteads. Tornadoes were also reported in Sangamon, Logan, Macon and Christian Counties. A Total of 6 tornadoes were reported on Tuesday evening. Some property damage was reported south east of Gibson City in Ford County and also near Maroa in Macon County. 


(Springfield-jm) – This is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The State Department of Children and Family Services reminds that human trafficking does occur to children here in Illinois, at an average age of 14. Governor J-B Pritzker urges the public to familiarize themselves with the warning signs…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If you suspect a child is in trouble, call 9-1-1 and the DCFS child abuse hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE.


(Champaign County-jm) – Champaign County Democrats will decide who will fill the late senator Scott Bennett’s seat by the end of this week. Champaign County Democratic Party Chair Mike Ingram joined the list of candidates for the seat. Others vying for the seat include State Representative Carol Ammons, Lawyer Cristina Manuel, Cynthia Cunningham, who lost to Representative Mike Marron in last year’s election, David Palmer, who lost in the Democratic primary for the Illinois 13th Congressional District, Champaign School Board Member Gianina Baker, Champaign County Board Chair Kyle Patterson, Former Prosecutor Matt Sullard, Therapist Mickensy Ellis-White, City of Champaign Township Supervisor Andy Quarnstrom and Champaign County Township Assessor Paul Faraci. Today, each candidate will present their case to the Vermilion County Party Chair, the Champaign County Vice Chair and the 16-person advisory committee. 


(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers are asking the public for help in locating a Champaign woman with a warrant for aggravated discharge of a firearm. Police said the suspect is 47-year-old Angelia J. Gant. They described her as a 5’08” black female, weighing 233 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. The suspect’s last known address is the 1300 block of Clock Street in Champaign. A bond is set at $50,000.


(Paxton–jc)  The Flock Safety Company is expected to be in attendance with Paxton city leaders when they meet this month. The topic of license plate readers and their potential use in the city is on the agenda. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold and several councilmen and members of the Paxton police department have been gathering information about a license plate reader program for months and the next meeting is to further inform local citizens about the program, says Mayor Ingold…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.


(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police were dispatched at 1:54 a.m. Tuesday morning, to the 2400 Block of N. Neil Street for a report of a Shooting with Injury. Upon arrival, officers located a 40-year-old Champaign man with a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen. He remains in critical condition. The initial investigation indicates that the victim was talking with a neighbor when an argument ensued. The argument quickly escalated when the suspect produced a firearm, shooting the victim one time before fleeing the scene. Officers processed the scene for physical evidence and continue to canvass the surrounding area for witnesses and video footage that may be of investigative assistance. Any resident or business in the nearby area with exterior surveillance camera systems is encouraged to notify the police department. No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is ongoing. It was the third shooting since New Year’s Eve.


(Rantoul-jm) – Could solar panels be coming to Rantoul Township High School? The school board will hear a formal proposal this Thursday on the nearly one million dollar project that would put solar panels on the east wing. The district is looking at credits and grants to help pay for the project. A decision on whether or not to move forward with the project could come as early as their January 9th meeting.


(Rantoul–jc)   Motocross racing is growing in the village of Rantoul The B-52 Hanger MX Racing Group is operating in Hanger 2 in the village. The hanger was part of the former Chanute Air Force Base that closed in 1993. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says hundreds of participants and fans head to the facility each week…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. The facility is open tonight from 5pm to 9pm and also Fridays through Sundays. That is the set schedule for the tracks this winter.


(Springfield-jm) – A new study out of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine finds a national increase in the number of kids ingesting edible marijuana products. Researchers looked at data from 2017 to 2021, noting the number of reported cases of a child younger than 6 eating a cannabis product shot up by more than 1000 percent. SUI Med Schools Dr Marit Tweet…



SIU Med Schools Dr Marit Tweet. Over 7 thousand cases were confirmed during the five year time period and nearly a quarter of those kids ended up in the hospital. Most incidents occurred in a home.


(Rantoul-jm) – Big changes are on the way to one area of Rantoul. Improvements that officials said have been in the works for months. Tuesday night, the Village Board is meeting to approve an engineering agreement. That way, a group can come in, take surveys and start getting ready for construction. Village leaders hope the $4.8 million project will encourage more people to spend more time in the 4-block area. The money for the project would come from the Rebuild Illinois Capital Program grant and the city’s ARPA funds. They hope to start the underground infrastructure work later this year and finish streetscaping by 2025.


(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a man suspected of theft and credit card fraud. The suspect stole a wallet from a purse while distracting a customer at Hobby Lobby on North Neil Street in Champaign on December 9. The suspect then used the victim’s credit cards to purchase over $10,000 worth of gift cards at Sam’s Club located nearby. Police say the suspect was captured on video and was described as a middle-aged white male, last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and baseball cap.


(Rantoul–jc)  Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials are working on events to raise money for a Dog Park in the village. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery says a Glo Bingo event is set for January 14th at the Knights of Columbus on North Ohio Street…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery

The event starts at 6-30pm on the 14th with the Glo Bingo beginning at 7pm.


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On December 23rd, 54 year old James Bailey of Rockdale, Illinois was arrested for aggravated assault and resisting a peace officer. On December 31st, 49 year old Shane May of Gibson City was arrested for aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery on a police officer and resisting a peace officer.


(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County Sheriff's Police report the arrest of 31-year-old Kirby Lacy of Urbana for manufacturing and delivery of cocaine.  Lacy was jailed over the weekend for failure to appear on the charges.  Deputies returned from the Cook County Jail with Lacy.


(Washington-jm) – Incomes for dairy operators increased in 2022, but what's the outlook for this year? Gary Crawford reports…



Illinoisans with fingerprints on file with Illinois State Police will have their Firearm Owner ID Card automatically renewed

(Springfield-jm) – With lame duck session for the Illinois statehouse to begin in just a few days, all eyes are on what happens with a proposed gun ban. House Bill 5855 would ban the future sale of nearly 100 different semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols and require current owners to register them with Illinois State Police. It also would ban the sale and possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and prohibit anyone under 21 from getting a Firearm Owner ID card needed to own or purchase guns or ammo. Gun control advocates and victims of gun violence have been advocating for passage of the law. A group named Protecting Illinois Communities, which is the name of the proposed bill, released an ad urging that the gun ban pass. Gun rights advocates say they will challenge any ban to the courts.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinoisans with fingerprints on file with Illinois State Police will have their Firearm Owner ID Card automatically renewed. The new measure was part of an update to the FOID law and allows for the voluntary fingerprint option for automatic renewals to kick in at the start of the year. ISP will check the fingerprints against criminal databases for possible FOID card and Concealed Carry License prohibitors.


(Undated-jm) – The price of gas has increased in Illinois according to Gasbuddy. The average price of gas in Illinois has risen 10.1 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.24 per gallon. Prices in Illinois are 40.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 8.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. According to GasBuddy, the lowest price in the state on Sunday was $2.69 per gallon while the most expensive was $4.99 per gallon. The national average price of gasoline has risen 12.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.17 per gallon on Monday.


(Springfield-jm) – Winter weather in Illinois can include snow, sleet and freezing rain, but what’s the difference? University of Illinois Extension Climate Change Specialist Duane Friend says snow forms when water vapor skips the liquid stage and crystalizes. Those large snowflakes are basically ice crystals that cling to each other and occur when the temperature is around 32 degrees. He says sleet usually doesn’t last very long…



University of Illinois Extension Climate Change Specialist Duane Friend. Friend says freezing rain is the most dangerous, because as soon as it hits the cold ground, it re-freezes and makes the roads and sidewalks very slippery.



(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police responded to a robbery on campus. 

Police said a man reported that he was walking near the C-9 parking lot on E. Chalmers St. around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday when he noticed two groups of men arguing with each other. One of the men mistakenly thought the man was involved in the argument, and then struck him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Several others kicked the victim and took his wallet and hat before he ran away. The victim, who is not a U of I student, did not request immediate medical assistance but later visited a hospital for treatment of his injuries.


(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man is facing several charges after he allegedly punched a police officer during a fight at a gas station. Kevin Baskis is charged with aggravated battery to a police officer. Police were called to the Circle K by I-57 for a man being disorderly. Baskis was resisting officers and during the resistance, Baskis allegedly punched an officer in the face. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered back in court January 18th. If convicted he faces penalties ranging from probation to 3 to 7 years in prison.


(Danville-jm) – The Vermilion County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim of a Friday night fire at 805 N. Vermilion Street in Danville, as 72 year old, Bernard Baker of Danville. Mr. Baker was found inside the structure and was sent to autopsy. His family was notified. Results are pending and the investigation into the cause of the fire is on-going. The Danville Fire Department, Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office and the Vermilion County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate.



(Washington-jm) – What could the beef industry expect in 2023? USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer, has a quick summary of expected meat production trends in 2023…



USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer.


(Springfield-jm) – The life expectancy rate in Illinois ranks in the middle of the pack among other states, according to data from the CDC. Illinois’s life expectancy rate is 76.8 years in 2020, down from 79 years in 2019 and 78.8 in 2018. The state falls in a similar range to a few other states, including Texas, Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. States on the lower end of the spectrum regarding life expectancy rates at 71.9 – 74.8 years include Kentucky, Tenneseee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, among others. States with high life expectancy rates of 78.4 – 80.7 include California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. The CDC also reports the leading cause of death in Illinois is heart disease. Other causes of death include cancer, Covid-19, accidents, and strokes.


(Springfield-jm) – If your New Year’s Resolution includes improving your finances, you may want to consider the “Smart Goals” method. “SMART '' is an acronym for five aspects of meeting a goal: specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and timely. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Nikki Giancola-Shanks says you should begin by setting a specific objective, like building an emergency fund or saving for a new car. Make sure you know how you will go about this and that if a partner is involved, that they are on board with the plan. It also needs to be achievable…



Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Nikki Giancola-Shanks. Finally, Giancola-Shanks says you should create a timetable for hitting your goal, or a date in which you will check your progress.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign homeless man is facing arson charges in connection with three fires in a two week span. Buster Kennedy was charged with 3 counts of arson after police say he admitted to setting the fires in two vacant buildings and a garage he was staying in. Kennedy told police the fires got out of control. Two of the fires happened in vacant apartments on South Mattis Avenue and the garage at a home on Hill Street.


(Savoy-jm) – Two people had minor injuries following an accident in Savoy Monday afternoon. The accident happened at Curtis and Dunlap.


(Vermilion County-jm) – A longtime Vermilion County public defender has been named 5th judicial circuit judge. Robert McIntire was selected by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the vacancy following the retirement of Nancy Fahey. McIntire will fill the remainder of Fahey’s term which ends December 2, 2024.


(Washington-jm) – USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer says that despite much higher retail prices for meat products. consumer demand in 2022 has been very strong all year…



USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer.

In 2023, Illinois drivers will see higher gasoline taxes, with two gas tax increases scheduled six months apart

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court on New Year's Eve delayed implementation of cashless bail across the state, which was set to go into effect yesterday. No cash bail, part of the Pretrial Fairness Act, was included in the controversial SAFE-T Act passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in early 2021. Dozens of states' attorneys, sheriffs and counties challenged the constitutionality of the cashless bail provision in lawsuits across Illinois. The lawsuits were consolidated, and a Kankakee County judge sided with plaintiffs this week. Following much confusion from counties not involved in the lawsuit, the state’s Supreme Court issued a stay order Saturday, meaning all counties will not be allowed to implement the law.


(Springfield-jm) – In 2023, Illinois drivers will see higher gasoline taxes, with two gas tax increases scheduled six months apart. The first went into effect January 1 and will add 3.1 cents to the price of a gallon of gas. That will spike the state's gas tax to more than 42 cents a gallon. Illinois also assesses its state sales tax on top of gas taxes and the normal price of gas, which makes the amount Illinois motorists pay in total taxes at the pump second highest in the nation. The second increase goes into effect on July 1 and will depend on inflation. In Governor J.B. Pritzker's first year in office, he and state lawmakers doubled the per-gallon tax from 19 cents to 38 cents, with annual increases every summer tied to inflation. Since then, the state has seen some of the highest fuel prices in the nation due to inflation, taxes and other factors.


(Springfield-jm) – Winter weather in Illinois can include snow, sleet and freezing rain, but what’s the difference? Snow forms when water vapor changes from a gas to a solid crystallization. University of Illinois Extension Climate Change Specialist Duane Friend says it’s when temperatures are right around freezing that we get those big, beautiful snowflakes…



University of Illinois Extension Climate Change Specialist Duane Friend. Friend says that sleet usually falls for a short period of time, transitioning from rain to snow or vice versa. Freezing rain occurs when snow falls through a warmer layer of air and melts completely. The problem is that freezing rain instantly re-freezes when it hits the cold ground.


(Champaign-jm) – Carle Health and Aetna finalized the Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO agreement, effective January 1, 2023. Back in October, the two organizations struck a deal where retired state employees with in-state-sponsored health benefits would be able to see their Carle doctors at an in-network rate in the new year. The updated contract expands the in-network status to include the Carle Health East Central Illinois and Southern Illinois regions. That means Carle hospitals and offices in Champaign, Urbana, Hoopeston, Danville, Mattoon, Charleston, Olney and surrounding communities will accept patients with the Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO plan. Services covered by the plan will be considered in-network by Carle and Aetna on January 1.


(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department responded to a report of shots fired early Sunday morning. Officers arrived on the scene at the 1400 block of Holly Hill Drive where they located evidence of gunfire, including multiple shell casings in the street. Officers then examined the scene for any evidence and walked through the surrounding area for witnesses and video. No injuries or property damage were reported.


(Rural Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a single vehicle accident Friday evening. Crews were called to the accident on Route 9 near 2400 East, east of Paxton. No injuries were reported.


(Pontiac-jm) – A committee will meet in early January to select a replacement for 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman. The committee is made up of 13 Republican Party Chairmen including Ford County GOPs Jeff Orr and Iroquois County’s Lyle Behrends. The committee will meet at 10 am on Saturday, January 7th at the Pontiac Elks Lodge.


(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of a telephone scam where a person is contacted, told they have a warrant for their arrest, and the caller requests money. If a message is left and the person calls the number back, it appears they have reached the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Dustin Heuerman reminds residents that the Sheriff’s Office will never call to tell you there is a warrant for your arrest and request money. The Sheriff’s Office suggests that if a resident questions the legitimacy of a call, they should hang up and verify the request by contacting the published number of the organization, such as a law enforcement phone number published on an official law enforcement website.


(Washington-jm) – 2023 could see a most unusual situation for the U.S. meat industry. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois minimum wage increased another dollar on Sunday, making the new required minimum wage $13 an hour. There have been five increases in the state minimum wage since 2019. Illinois is currently on the path to a $ 15-an-hour minimum wage by 2025. The minimum wage for workers who regularly earn tips will increase to $7.80 an hour on January 1; these workers must still earn the minimum wage after receiving tips, or the employer is required to make up the difference. Workers under 18 who work fewer than 650 hours a year will earn a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour beginning January 1.


(Springfield-jm) – If your New Year’s resolution includes improving your finances, you may want to consider the “Smart Goals” method. “SMART” stands for specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and timely, and might be a good way to tackle your 2023 financial goals. Andrea Pelligrini with the University of Illinois Student Money Management Center says you should start with a specific objective…



University of Illinois Student Money Management Center’s Andrea Pelligrini. From there, if your plan involves a partner or roommate, make sure they are on board. Pelligrini says the financial goal should be realistic and that you have a timetable for reaching it.


(Undated-jm) – 2023 is bringing new changes to the Illinois State Police. The state’s law enforcement will be reorganizing and going from 21 districts down to 11. Along with the consolidation is naming changes. What had been District 10 in Pesotum will now be called Troop 7. Their geographic boundaries will not change as they will continue to serve Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby and Vermilion Counties. District 21, which is based in Ashkum, will be consolidated with District 5 based in Pontiac and will now be called Troop 5. The geographic boundaries will include Ford, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, McLean and DeWitt Counties. ISP says both posts in Ashkum and Pontiac will remain open.


(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man is facing gun and theft charges. Police say a manager at the KFC on Springfield Avenue called police after observing Richard Frazier opening the cash register the night before and taking cash and putting it in his pocket. As police were patting Frazier down, they found a loaded pistol with a defaced serial number. Frazier was charged with unlawful use of weapons by a felon, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number and misdemeanor theft. Bond was set at $300,000.


(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana Fire Department responded to a two-story home fire on New Year’s Eve. Crews found fire coming out of two second-story windows at a home in the 1900 block of Willow Road. A second alarm was called with the report of possibly several occupants still inside the home. The fire department said crews from Champaign Fire were then dispatched on the second alarm.


(Undated-jm) – How does the weather look for the first week of 2023? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the answer…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.


(Cissna Park-jm) – Several area fire departments responded to a shed fire Wednesday night on the northeast side of Cissna Park. The call came in just after 8 pm. The shed was once a body shop. Crews responded back Thursday after it rekindled. There’s no word on the cause of the fire or how much damage was caused.


(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man is facing drug charges after allegedly having cocaine for sale. Khamron Williams was charged with possession with intent to deliver after Champaign police arrested him following a traffic stop for traffic violations. An officer saw an opened bag of suspected cannabis on the passenger seat. A search of the vehicle turned up a bag in the vehicle with cocaine. Police say Williams was in possession of 17 grams of cocaine and 11 grams of cannabis. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison.


(Washington-jm) – Friday's USDA report on ag. prices show farmers continuing to see very strong prices. Gary Crawford reports…



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