Springfield, Ill. (AP) — Illinois public health officials say a fourth person has died after using synthetic marijuana.The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday afternoon that the most recent victim was a woman in her 30s from central Illinois…
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah
Her death comes as the state deals with an outbreak of people experiencing severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana. More than 150 people in Illinois in 13 counties have been sickened and three others have died, including two men from Central Illinois.
(Clinton--jc) A threat to Clinton Junior High was reported late Tuesday afternoon. School officials say the threat was found on a bathroom wall around 3-30 yesterday afternoon. School officials are investigating the incident and local police were also called.
(Springfield--jc) -- The Illinois Senate has voted to give home care workers a significant raise. The bill nearly doubles pay for workers who help Seniors stay in their homes. Republican State Senator Jim Oberweis says the idea is sound, but wonders how the state, already billions of dollars in the red, can afford the additional 800 million dollars.
Republican Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis
The measure puts the wage from 11 to 20 dollars this July and a one dollar per hour raise for the next five years. The issue is now in the hands of the Illinois House.
(Champaign-rb) Seven Centennial High School teenagers are in police custody after a school fight sent one student to the hospital. It happened Friday, outside the school, around lunchtime. The state's attorney's office says the fight appears to be linked to two gangs which have had previous problems. State's Attorney Julia Reitz says an 11th grader in a gang started the fight by challenging another student by text. Six are charged with aggravated battery while four are also charged with mob action. An 18-year old faces both those charges in adult court.
(Champaign County--jc) -- A Champaign County man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for having sex with a child. 55 year old Isaiah Allen of Rantoul was sentenced on the Class X Felony in Champaign County court on Tuesday. Once released, Allen will have to register as a sex offender.
(Gibson City--rb) -- Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School ag shop is the site of the school’s annual Ag Expo today. The event runs rom 8-30 this morning until 2-30 this afternoon. The public is welcome to attend. Animals, equipment and activities will be available for viewing and a hands-on experience.
(Champaign-rb) Work on a luxury, five-story building in downtown Champaign has begun. The 520 Neil development on the north side of downtown Champaign will have first-floor retail to fifth-floor office space, Champaign-based Serra Ventures venture-capital firm says 35 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments are also part of the project.
(Springfield--jc) The Illinois House has passed legislation aimed at giving those sitting in jail, awaiting trial, a chance to vote. The measure would required county election officials to make sure eligible voters in jail can cast their ballot. Republican State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard, disagrees…
Republican State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard.
The measure is now in the Illinois Senate.
(Washington--jc) -- U-S-D-A officials continue to be reluctant to outline how tariffs will affect farmers. Gary Crawford reports…
(Normal--jc) -- One McLean County kids group received high marks from a state official on Tuesday. Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti said the Youth-Build-McLean-County program is one that helps kids make the right decisions. During the visit, the Lieutenant Governor spoke with officials of the program on ways to grow and offer more to area youth.
(Gibson City-rb) Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has helped sponsor a bill to expand the list of people eligible to petition for visitation. Bennett says their relationship to the ward is just as valid as an adult child of that person…
Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The man who snatched an AR-15 rifle away from a gunman at a Nashville restaurant told Tennessee lawmakers Tuesday he faced "the true test of a man," drawing a standing ovation during his brief address. As the House hailed him as a hero, James Shaw Jr. said he acted to save his own life early Sunday at a Waffle House, and saved others in the process. Also on Tuesday, a Nashville judge revoked Travis Reinking’'s bond. The former Morton Illinois resident is being held on 2 million dollars bond until hearing next month.
(Springfield--jc) -- THe state’s top health official says the donation of vitamin K will help in the fight with the opioid outbreak. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah says the vitamin will be used to treat the bleeding…
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah.
To date, 4 people have died from using opiods. The latest victim used an opioid laced with rat poison.
SPRINGFIELD - As pension costs continue to soar statewide, the Illinois Municipal League has proposed legislation that would consolidate public safety pension funds. The proposals create greater returns on investments for pensioners and eliminate duplicative administrative costs that burden both pensioners and taxpayers. Illinois currently has more than 650 individual police and firefighter pension funds, and each of these local funds consist of five-member boards. That results in over 3 thousand 3 hundred board trustees and add accountants, consultants and attorneys and that number increases. There are several measures in the Illinois Senate that would address consolidation of those pensions.
ST. LOUIS (April 24, 2018) – The American Soybean Association is now accepting applications for the Ag Voices of the Future program, sponsored by Valent USA. This program is for young people interested in improving their understanding of major policy issues that impact soybean farmers. The Ag Voices of the Future class is part of a national meeting in the nation’s capitol in July. More information on applications is found on the American Soybean Association web site.
(Springfield--jc) -- A boost in equipment sales propelled Caterpillar's first-quarter profit, as a strong global economy helped support construction and energy industry projects.The maker of heavy equipment and machinery also greatly increased its outlook for the year, citing an upbeat global markets, better pricing and demand. Construction equipment sales rose 38 percent during the quarter, while energy and transportation equipment sales rose 26 percent.
(Springfield--jc) -- Workers in the state’s community care program make about 11 dollars an hour. Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter, democrat from Chicago, is sponsoring a bill to make that 20 dollars per hour,
Democrat State Senator Mattie Hunter of Chicago.
(Champaign-rb) Professor Jay Rosenstein plans to ask the University of Illinois Academic Senate to vote on a resolution calling on the UI to stop Chief Illiniwek appearances at campus sporting events. He'll do so over the objections of Chancellor Robert Jones, who is concerned about losing the trust of Chief proponents just a few weeks after his first campus "Critical Conversation" on how to move forward without the Chief. The resolution calls on State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium personnel to treat Chief appearances as protests, which aren't allowed at those facilities
(Springfield--jc) -- A measure that passed the Illinois House aims to give people in jail awaiting trial a chance to vote. The bill requires county elections officials to work with jails in getting voter forms to eligible inmates. It’s sponsored by Democrat Illinois House member Juliana Stratton of Chicago…
Democrat Illinois House member Juliana Stratton of Chicago.
That measure now awaits action in the Illinois Senate.
(Undated--jc) the State of Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…
CHICAGO (AP) — New state requirements and incentives are drawing renewable energy developers to Illinois.The 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act requires Illinois utilities to have renewable sources account for 25 percent of their retail power by 2025. The act has an annual budget of more than $200 million to create programs and incentives that encourage solar development.The state hopes to add 2,800 megawatts of solar energy over the next few years, which would power about 450,000 homes.
(Springfield--jc) -- House Speaker Michael Madigan was re-elected Monday to his position as head of Illinois’ Democratic Party, as expected.Madigan has held the position as speaker since 1998. This makes him not only the longest-serving legislative leader in American history, but also the longest-serving head of a major political party in Illinois
(Springfield-rb) The Investigation on E. Coli has expanded to full heads and hearts of romaine lettuce. Illinois department of Public Health spokesperson Melanie Arnold has this to say about the investigation…
Illinois department of Public Health spokesperson Melanie Arnold
(Gibson City---jc) Republican leaders in the Illinois House filed a resolution to have an independent redistricting reform solution. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says 72 percent of all Illinois residents want the non-political commission. Local state representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says it’s time to take the political out of the legislative maps…
Local state representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City
(Springfield--jc) -- Corn planting is slowly getting underway as we hear in the weekly crop report. With just a couple of days suitable for field work, producers were able to get some corn in the ground says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…
State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener
4 percent of the winter wheat crop has headed and 56 percent is in good to excellent condition. Top soil moisture is rated 3 percent short, 80 percent adequate
And 17 percent surplus.
(Undated--jc) -- Get ready to hear a lot more about what a progressive income tax could mean for Illinois. Americans for Prosperity in Illinois spokesperson Andrew Nelms says the entire point of the progressive income tax is to get more money for state government. Americans for Prosperity in Illinois are launching an ad campaign designed to drive home the simple point that no one knows now who will be paying what if a progressive income tax is put in place.
(Rantoul-rb) A fire started yesterday in a C-47 plane that was on the grounds of the former Chanute Air Museum when the plane was being dismantled by a salvage crew. Fire Chief Ken Waters said the plane was a total loss.
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday filed a federal lawsuit seeking to shut down a Champaign-area bus company for allegedly discriminating against and harassing its customers and their families. Madigan says the lawsuit filed against Suburban Express Incorporated. and owner Dennis Toeppen comes after a December mass-marketing email…
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
The transportation company provides college students in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana with bus service to the Chicago area. Madigan says that Suburban Express and Dennis Toeppen have engaged in illegal discrimination and harassment against college students and their families.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has racked up more in late-payment fees in less than three years than it did in the 18 years combined, according to a report The Associated Press obtained Monday. Some major creditors say they've waited more than a year to receive the interest they're owed.The report by state Comptroller Susana Mendoza found that the 16 billion dollars in past-due debt that piled up during a two-year budget stalemate comes with a steep price. Since July 2015, Mendoza reported, prompt-payment penalties have totaled more than 1 Billion dollars.
(Springfield-rb) The State Received a Grant for 16 Million dollars to help fight the Opioid Crisis. Illinois Department of Human services spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says the money will do a lot of good…
Illinois Department of Human services spokesperson Patrick Laughlin
(Chicago--jc) Does a flat tax overburden taxpayers. Veronica Carter reports…
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The mentally unstable gunman suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville, was arrested near his apartment Monday after hiding from police for more than a day, authorities said. Police and federal agents had mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking after the Sunday morning attacks, in which a gunman clad only in a jacket used an assault rifle to attack a diverse crowd of patrons at the restaurant before being disarmed by a patron. Reinking is a former resident of Morton.
(Washington--jc) The proposed fiscal year 2019 budget puts the U-S-D-A back in charge of the nation’s new bio-ag facility. Stephanie Ho reports…
(Champaign-rb) The Champaign Police Department is gearing up to help citizens celebrate National Police Week this year. The week is May 14th thru the 18th. The department will host an event each day to commemorate the week. On Monday the 14th there will be Coffee with a Cop. On Tuesday the 15th there will be the Champaign Police Department Employee Awards Ceremony. On the Wednesday and Thursday there will be a CPD Open house from 4-8 and Friday the 18th Champaign Police Memorial, honoring fallen Champaign Police Officers Thomas Dodsworth and Robert Tatman as well as a Cop on a Rooftop. For more information on the events visit Illinoishomepage.net.
(Springfield--jc) Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s legislation requiring judges to explain the rationale for rescinding Statutory Summary Suspensions is moving on to the Senate after passing the Illinois House on Monday. The measure is designed to strengthen the state’s current drunk driving law. Secretary White says the measure makes the judicial process more accountable. The issue is now in the hands of the Illinois Senate.
(Hanover, Germany--jc) -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited the world headquarters of Continental Tire in Hanover Germany. The governors meeting was to support the global company’s plant in Illinois. Continental Tires is the largest tire manufacturer, and is also the state’s largest private sector employer south of Peoria. Rauner says Continental Tire has built a significant manufacturing presence in Illinois and are a valued investor in our economy.
(Springfield--jc) Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…
(Springfield--jc) Illinois is receiving a 16 million dollar federal grant to fight opioid abuse.Governor Bruce Rauner's administration announced the grant Friday. The Illinois Department of Human Services will administer it to fight a scourge that claimed 2,000 lives in Illinois last year.It's the second consecutive year Illinois has received funding from the 21st Century Cures Act .Officials say the grant will provide new treatment and recovery services and expand medication-assisted treatment for those with opioid-use disorder. It will boost the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program and enhance programs to assist people released from county jails.
(Washington--jc) What does Friday’s U-S-D-A report of cattle feedlot activity show about the beef cattle herd? Gary Crawford reports…
CHICAGO (AP) — Non-tenured faculty and graduate students in Illinois are looking to unions as pay and benefits stagnate.University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and Columbia College Chicago have seen an increase in union activity.Graduate students, adjunct and non-tenured faculty members have sparked most of the activism, leading to strikes and contract negotiations. Columbia part time faculty held a two day strike last November and Graduate and teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign staged a nine-day strike in February, leading to a new contract last month.Some universities have fought against negotiating with graduate students.
The DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office is participating in the Second Annual Distracted Driving Week Education, Enforcement campaign starting today (April 23rd). We would like to encourage all drivers to refrain from the use of a mobile communication device while driving.
MACKINAW, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a central Illinois man has died in an officer-involved shooting.Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston that officers went to a house in rural Mackinaw Friday morning in response to a call of a man armed with an ax and a knife trying to break into a gun cabinet.Huston says that after a Mackinaw police officer and two county deputies arrived, an 18-year-old man pointed a gun at them, and one of the deputies fired in self-defense.Huston says the deputy who fired the fatal shot was taken to a hospital, examined and released. The unidentified officer is a 25-year veteran.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers shows that concerns over a trade war have hurt confidence in the economy in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says weak farm income continues to weigh on the rural economy, but that the survey in recent months shows the economy is trending upward.The overall Rural Mainstreet index slipped slightly to 53.5 in April from 54.7 in March. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.Bankers from 9 Midwest states including Illinois were surveyed
CHICAGO (AP) — Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office is suing a company for what it says is an illegal predatory lending scheme that targeted the retirement benefits of Illinois residents.Madigan's office says Nevada-based Future Income Payments LLC made installment loans without a license and tried to disguise them as "pension sales."Madigan's office alleges the company illegally advertises the loans as a way to quickly obtain cash in exchange for people's pension benefits.
(Undated--jc) Law enforcement officials want to make the public aware of the costs to distracted driving. WEXG’s Joel Cluver has the details…
(Gibson City-rb) Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School’s ag shop will be the site of the school’s annual Ag Expo from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25. The public is welcome to attend. If groups larger than five are planning to attend, they are asked to call the school ahead of time to schedule a visit. Animals, equipment and activities will be available for viewing and a hands-on experience.
(HAMBURG, Germany--jc) -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and a delegation of Illinois business leaders on Friday visited the Port of Hamburg branch of Archer Daniels Midland . A-D-M is a global food processing company that is based in Chicago and employs more than 32 thousand. The company has recently announced new projects and investment in multiple locations across Illinois including Quincy, Metro Chicago, Mendota, and Effingham. In Germany, ADM operates Europe’s largest oilseeds crushing and refinery complex.
(Champaign County--jc) -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a Newman, Illinois man who has died as a result of injuries sustained in a single motor vehicle crash on Illinois Route 49 in rural Champaign County. 44 year old Clayton Garwood was pronounced dead at the scene just after 4 A M on Sunday. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday. This death is being investigated by the Champaign Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police District 10
(Gibson City--jc) -- The consensus among Illinois Republicans is opposition to a progressive income tax. Local State Representative Tom Bennett says he believes Illinois residents will be taxed more under the graduated tax proposal…
Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.
The progressive tax idea is being proposed by Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J. B Pritzcker.
Hydrant Flushing will occur in Mansfield between the hours of 7am and 4pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. You may notice discolored water on these days and a day or so after.
(Washington--jc) -- The consolidation of ag companies may create a way to look at ag and food production. Rod Bain reports…
SRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police are urging Firearm Owners Identification card holders to apply early as many come up for renewal. State Police Director Leo Schmitz said Friday that the agency expects tens of thousands of renewal applications to come in over the next few months as the first wave of 10-year cards come due for renewal. State police are recommending gun owners send renewal applications at least one to two months in advance so the agency has enough time to process requests and issue new cards before expiration.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A measure is awaiting action from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that would end the state's participation in a controversial multi-state voter registration database.Critics say the system doesn't properly protect personal information.Rauner spokeswoman Rachel Bold says the systems are "intended to ensure access to voting while preventing opportunities for fraud." Republican lawmakers Thursday argued against the measure, saying the Illinois Board of Elections shouldn't be barred from accessing data because of political reasons. Democratic sponsors say the state still will have access to an alternative voter data system called the Electronic Registration Information Center
(Undated--jc) Illinois is celebrating its 200 anniversary. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials say they delivered personal data involving more than 4,000 people to incorrect addresses.
A statement Friday indicated that 4,136 clients of the Departments of Human Services or Healthcare and Family Services Friday have been notified of the breach.The personal information varied but could include names, health insurance information, medical and financial information and birth dates. Officials say there's a "very low risk" of identity theft because no detailed medical information or Social Security numbers were included.
(Springfield--jc) -- The Illinois Senate is inching closer to allowing schools in the state to share superintendents, but some senators have a problem with the plan because it allows voters to demand consolidation at the top of the school district. The idea is simple: Allow neighboring schools to agree to share one superintendent. Illinois has more than 850 school districts. Numbers from the Illinois State Board of Education show about one third of them have fewer than 600 students and 44 percent of districts have one or two schools. The average salary for a school superintendent is nearly 107 thousand dollars. If state lawmakers approved the plan then a simple majority from two school boards could share a school superintendent.
(Springfield--jc) -- Republican Illinois state Senator Sam McCann of Plainview announced Thursday that he plans run as a third-party candidate for governor. McCann joins Republican first term governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat Billionaire J. B. Pritztker for the state’s top job. The Illinois general election is this November.
(Springfield--jc) -- A threatening message at Chatham Glenwood High School near Springfield caused an evacuation of students and teachers yesterday. WICS news says the threat came from a message written on a bathroom wall. Local authorities and school workers conducted a search of the facility and nothing dangerous was found. Closer to home, a threatening note was found at Normal West High School earlier this week. That threat was also found false. There was a continued higher law enforcement presence yesterday. No school today at Normal West with a teachers institute day.
(Washington--jc) Many farmers are having to deal with more stress and anxiety this year. Gary Crawford reports…
(Germany--jc) Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, on his sales trip to Europe, met with a German leadership team about medications that are distributed to an Illinois company. The governor says Fresenius Kabi is a great partner with the state of Illinois. The German based company has a operation in Illinois in Melrose Park. Fresenius Kabi broke ground last fall on a 250 million dollar expansion of its pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Illinois.
(Undated0-jc) A popular scam targeting senior citizens has popped up again in East Central Illinois. A caller poses to be a public defender looking for money to help with bail and court costs of the person’s family. Local and area police agencies say to call your family and check out the situation. Some scammers are asking for thousands of dollars. The scammers have used correct names with the calls. If you receive a call like this you are asked to contact your local or area police agency.
(Undated--jc) -- As Spring type weather finally arrives, the Illinois Department of Transportation is urging motorcyclists to be careful and “ride smart.”
I-Dot Spokesperson Kelsea Gurski says motorcyclists need to be aware and not become a statistic…
I-DOT Spokesperson Kelsea Gurski.
More details on how to “ride smart” are on-line at start-seeing-motorcycles-dot-org
The LeRoy Boy Scout Troop 950 Pancake & Sausage Breakfast is from 7-noon tomorrow at the LeRoy Christian Church. Cost for adult is $7 and children are $4.
The DeWitt County Foodmobile will be at the Clinton American Legion Hall tomorrow from 10am-11:30am. The foodmobile is open to all eligible residents of DeWitt County.
(Undated--jc) The state of Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois will soon begin a program requiring many employers to help create voluntary retirement-savings plans for employees and offer automatic payroll deductions. Secure Choice could eventually cover 1.2 million Illinois residents according to Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. The program is not a state defined-benefit program and is not Social Security. Frerichs says this is giving people the tools they need to invest in themselves so that they have a brighter retirement. Businesses that have been operating for two years and have at least 25 employees must either create their own retirement plan or participate in Secure Choice. Employers won't be required to contribute to the program or pay a fee to participate. Employees will automatically have 5 percent of their income put into a savings account, but they can change that percentage. Employees may also opt out of the program.
(Bloomington--jc) The next step for four defendants in a civil case between the owner of a Bloomington management company and several managers at the former U S Cellular Coliseum is a status hearing on July 13th . In court on Thursday, the city of Bloomington which owns the property laid out their claims against John Butler, Kelly Klein, Jay Laesch,and Paul Grazer. The city put forth a 42 page response and counterclaim in McLean County court yesterday.
(Washington--jc) Congress and the Ag Secretary traded words over the McGovern-Dole food program. Stephanie Ho has the details…
(Clinton--jc) -- DeWitt County leaders have expanded the setbacks on a proposed wind farm. The setback mandate is 2 thousand feet between a tower and non-turbine property owners. The board did not approve a height restriction for the wind towers. A wind farm is proposed northwest of the city of Clinton. Trade Winds Energy is the company behind the project. In Ford County, county leaders continue to look at setbacks, noise among issues with wind turbines. A Ford County board committee met earlier this month on wind turbines.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The House has approved a plan pushed by the Democratic state comptroller to require Illinois governors to pay employees from their budgets, not those of other agencies. The vote Thursday was 110-0 to halt what's called"off-shoring" of employees. Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the plan in March. She says it was wrong under Democratic governors in the past and will be illegal in the future. Governors who need additional help would have to seek more money from the Legislature rather than use money from the State Board of Education or Transportation Department. The bill moves to the Senate.
(Springfield--jc) -- Illinois hit its lowest unemployment rate in 11 years coming in at 4-point-six percent in March. Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says the state did lose some jobs…
Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough.
Job gains were in financial, manufacturing and construction.
(Springfield--jc) Parents could give their sick kids a dose of prescribed medical marijuana under a bill that has passed the Illinois House. The measure is called “Ashley’s Law” after an 11 year old girl was not allowed to use cannabis for her seizures. The proposal is sponsored by Representative Lou Lang of Skokie…
The measure is now in the Illinois Senate
(Gibson City--jc) A Euchre party to benefit fundraising efforts for the Ford County Relay for Life is set for the Moyer library tonight at 6-30. The event is sponsored by the Chic’s Relay team. Entry is 10 dollars. Snacks and water will be provided.
(Bellflower--jc) -- On your things to do list this weekend, the Bellflower Country Opys next music show is tomorrow night at 7. Special guest performer is Marc Bubert. Bubert sings Elvis to country classics. A pulled pork dinner will be served. Admission is 10 dollars.
The Cooksville Fire Department Annual Pancake and Sausage Breakfast is Sunday from 8am-1pm at the Fire Station.
(Springfield--jc) -- Two state senators want to give voters a new tool to reduce property taxes. Republican State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods, and Republican State Senator Michael Connelly of Naperville, said an amendment to Senate Bill 26-70 would allow voters in counties that operate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, to go to the polls to lower taxes.The Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, passed in 1990, limits the amount of additional money taxing bodies can levy each year to the rate of inflation or 5 percent. Voters gave up the ability to reduce their property tax levies via referendum when they accepted P-TELL.
(Normal--jc) School officials in one McLean County school say more security will be present at school today. A letter was found in a boys bathroom at Normal Community West High School this week that threatened a school shooting sometime today. School officials investigated the issue with Normal police on Wednesday. School officials say the threat is not considered credible, but additional security will be provided.
(Chicago--jc) -- Momentum is growing to change the way political boundaries are drawn in Illinois. The issue is how to accomplish the change. Illinois’ gerrymandered maps have been blamed for more than 60 percent of statehouse races only having one candidate in the 2016 general election. Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it’s time to make a change…
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin
Currently there are several plans to to re-district the political boundaries. Any proposed constitutional amendment question must be agreed on by both chambers by May 6 to make it on the November ballot for voters to make the ultimate decision.
(Gibson City--jc) Two Gibson City businesses continue to host a silent auction at the Moyer District Library through the month of April. Shepherd’s Closet and Closet too are non profit stores and items to bid on include a 1954 Electrolux vacuum to dolls in their original boxes. Those interested in bidding on items are asked to go to the Library and also look for more information on their facebook page.
(Springfield--jc) -- A bill that aims to bring more state government jobs back to Springfield passed the Illinois House on Wednesday. The legislation makes Sangamon County the default location for state jobs. The measure is sponsored by State Representative Sara Wojcicki-Jimenez…
State Representative Sara Wojcicki-Jimenz
If the measure would become law it would not apply to current employees. The issue is now in the hands of the Illinois Senate today.
(Washington--jc) -- Although a version of the 20-18 Farm Bill passed out of the House Ag Committee in Washington D C, there are many more steps remaining in the process. Rod Bain reports…
(Gibson City--jc) -- Legislation sponsored by local state representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City, approved by the Illinois House this week helps to relieve teacher and substitute teacher shortages. Bennett says the measure makes it easier for educators from other states to teach in Illinois…
Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City
The measure now goes to the Illinois Senate.
(Springfield-rb) Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White commended the Illinois House today for approving legislation initiated by his office to strengthen Illinois’ law on distracted driving. House Bill 4846 cracks down on texting while driving by classifying first-time offenses as moving violations. Under the current law, which took effect in 2014, second and subsequent texting while driving offenses are treated as moving violations, while first offenses are treated as nonmoving violations. The penalty for a violation of the new law would result in a moving violation that will be recorded to the motorist’s driving record, as well as fines and court costs which will be determined by a judge.
(Washington--jc) Congressional Republicans are proposing stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.A new poll shows broad support for the changes. Even though it’s called the farm bill, the biggest debate about the newest proposal will be changes to work requirements for people getting food stamps. Should the bill become law, adults ages 18 to 59 would be required to either work or attend job training classes for 20 hours weekly to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The disabled, pregnant and parents caring for kids under 6 would be exempt.
(Pesotum-rb) – Illinois State Police (ISP) District 10 Commander, Captain Louis Kink, announces the ISP will conduct Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols (sTEP) in Champaign and Macon Counties during May. These sTEPs allow the ISP to focus on the fatal four violations which are DUI, Safety Belt, Speeding and Distracted driving. The ISP will increase daytime and nighttime patrols to ensure the safety of vehicle travelers through enforcement of all traffic safety laws.
(Springfield--jc) -- The public is invited today to check out items from Illinois State Treasurer’s office upcoming Chicago auction. Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says a special preview of the May 12 auction are on-line today…
Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs
Frerichs adds the live auction is set for May 12th in Chicago..
(Undated--jc) -- Municipalities across the state may have a small window to pass ordinances regulating installation of small cell, or 5G, phone technology as a state representative works to advance a measure to amend a law signed by the governor earlier this month.Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1451. With the exception of Chicago, the measure mandates uniform standards for deals telecommunications companies can make with local governments. The new law takes effect July first.
(Normal-rb) A Normal man faces drug and weapons charges. Donnell A. Taylor, is charged with delivery of cocaine and unlawful possession of marijuana. He also is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Taylor was jailed in lieu of posting $250,000.
(Springfield--jc) -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed a balanced budget for lawmakers in Springfield. In the budget are dollars to upgrade and repair some properties at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The governor says the money goes to support agriculture and farm families. State leaders have until the end of May to pass a balanced budget, on time.
(Bloomington-rb) A tentative two-year labor contract has been reached between the McLean County Unit 5 Board of Education and teachers union.Details of the tentative agreement will be made public after the plan is approved, said officials.
(Springfield--jc) -- Democratic Lawmakers in Springfield are moving resolutions to oppose President Donald Trump’s policies in Washington D.C. Critics say the moves are election-year politics rather than sound statehouse policy, especially given that the legislature has yet to adopt a budget for the coming year. Last week, the Illinois Senate passed a resolution opposing the use of National Guard troops along the country's southern border. Governor Rauner has stated he would send the guardsmen to the border if asked by President Trump
(Undated--jc) -- The next step for Bergners stores in area malls from Bloomington and Forsyth to Champaign and Danville is to close. An attempt to sell or garner bids this week fell short of company expectations. Only two bids were received and those were from liquidators. No word on any timetable for the closures were provided in the news release.
(Springfield-jc) -.Illinois farmers are off to a late start. April is the month in Illinois for planting corn. But so far this month, it has been wet and cold. To date, farmers in the state have planted just over 1 percent of the state’s corn crop. State crop experts are not worried at this time. Over the past 5 years, 4 percent of corn has been planted by this date. One good thing is soil moisture, and another is soybeans are due to be planted for several weeks. An Illinois farmers are expected to plant more soybeans than corn this year.
(Undated--jc) -- Some volunteers will be honored in Springfield later today for service in East Central Illinois. WEXG’s Joel Cluver has the story…
(Springfield--jc) Back pay for some 24 thousand American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees is now in the hands of the full Illinois Senate. Democrat Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, and major sponsor of the bill, says its time to pay that bill. The cost is over 63 million dollars or about 2 thousand 500 dollars per worker. Governors Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner challenged the payments and the issue has been in the courts for several years.
(Springfield--jc) -- Supporters of a bill imposing tougher penalties for assaulting a D-C-F-S caseworker are not giving up. The majority of democrats on a house committee put down the legislation since it increases prison sentences. State Representative Tony McCombmie of Savanna wants to see penalties against D-C-F-S caseworkers in line with penalties against police officer or a firefighter…
Illinois State Representative Tony McCombmie of Savanna
The measure was prompted by the beating and death of Pam Knight of Dixon. She was assaulted on the job as a caseworker and later died of her injuries.
(Ford County-rb ) What’s the best way to keep kids healthy. With National Immunization week coming up starting on Sunday, local health departments are encouraging parents talk with healthcare officials to make sure they are current on immunizations. Local Health officials say vaccinating children on time before their second birthday is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases. More information on the immunizations are found by calling your local county public health department.
(Springfield--jc) - Republican Senators at the Illinois statehouse want to block any move to change the state’s constitution for a progressive income tax.The state constitution requires income to be taxed at a flat rate. Several measures at the statehouse from Democrats would ask voters to change that structure to allow progressive income tax rates. It’s the consensus of Senate Republicans that a progressive tax would hit small businesses too hard and hurt job creation. State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet says Democrats passed the biggest tax increase less than one year ago…
Republican State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet
Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker has called for a progressive income tax in Illinois, he hasn't detailed specific rates or income levels.
(Central Il-rb) Police are still searching for a man considered to be armed and dangerous. Todd McGee is wanted in Piatt, Macon and Moultrie counties. He's accused of breaking into a home, choking someone, burglarizing the home and not showing up to court on a suspended license charge. Last week, U.S. Marshals were searching for him in Coles County. Anyone with information on McGee's whereabouts should call 911
(Clarence-rb) - Charges for bombing a mosque in Minnesota could be the next for three men from Clarence. Earlier this week, 4 Ford County men went before a federal judge in Urbana on a gun possession charge. Michael Hari, Joe Morris, Michael McWhorter and Ellis Mack have all been charged with possession of a machine gun. They were arrested in Clarence last month. Hari, Morris and McWhorter are also charged in the bombing of a Minnesota mosque. Lawyers asked the three men be brought to Minnesota after their cases are resolved locally. A June 5th trial date on the weapons charge has been filed.
(Washington--jc) Beef production is on the rise. Cattle prices are dropping. Gary Crawford has the story…
(Springfield-jc) -- Should farm trucks get more leeway to haul heavier loads on Illinois roads year round? One state representative thinks so. A law already on the books allows farm trucks hauling goods to be heavier than allowed during certain emergencies. Governor Bruce Rauner issued such a declaration last harvest season after heavy rains delayed getting crops out of the fields.The declaration also allowed local governments to OK similar weight increases on local roads for a 45-day period.State Representative Democrat Natalie Phelps-Finnie of Harrisburg says her bill would permit increased haul weight by 10 percent annually, is needed because it’s an emergency situation for downstate farms. Some on the transportation committees say they worry about the deterioration of Illinois roads.
(Springfield--jc) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says volunteers play a crucial role whenever disaster strikes. From sandbagging to assisting disaster victims, I-EMA Spokesperson Patti Thompson says it is important to get involved before a disaster strikes…
I-EMA Spokesperson Patti Thompson
More information on volunteerism is found online at Ready-dot-illinois-dot-gov.
(Undated--jc) Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…
(Springfield--jc) -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing a balanced budget with money to spare to help pay down overdue bills. The governor vetoed last year’s unbalanced budget and tax hike. Rauner says the state needs to be fiscally responsible…
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner
(Springfield--jc) -- People are not supposed to feed wild deer in Illinois. Baiting deer for hunting is illegal, and the state's Department of Natural Resources says feeding wild deer can spread disease. But some people in some places in Illinois could soon give some deer something to eat. Local State Senator Chapin Rose says there are veterinarians who say feeding deer outside of hunting season will help keep the animals healthy. Some with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources disagree. The Senate panel approved the measure but want a pilot program first.
(Springfield-rb) Some Illinois Lawmakers want to cut sales taxes on personal care products by five percent. The tax code already considers diapers, baby wipes, condoms, and pads as luxury items. The plan could drop that sales tax from over six percent to one percent. That's the same tax often used on groceries and medicine. Supporters say the cuts help the family budget
(Springfield--jc) As lawmakers are working in the state capitol on a new budget, some are hopeful a meeting last week between the state’s top leaders will help the budget process. Illinois House Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington says two important steps have been made…
Illinois House Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington.
(Mahomet-rb) A Mahomet teenager was killed after a single vehicle accident. It happened about 9 am, Monday, in Hensley Township near Mahomet. 19-year old Heather Clarke was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon. The accident is under investigation.
(Bloomington-Normal--jc) --The Bloomington-Normal area will be regaled for the 89th year by the Gamma Phi Circus, with performers comprised of Illinois State University students and staff. Marcus Alouan is director of the circus and says the students have been working on the acts since August. This year’s theme for the circus is ‘Once Upon a Time.’ Show times are Friday night at 7 and 1pm and 7pm on Saturday at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.
(Chicago--jc) -- Go Cubs go. As part of the Illinois BiCentennial celebration, the Illinois Top 200 project asked Illinoisans to pick their favorite buildings in the state. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills says Chicago’s Wrigley Field tops the list..
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills
Other favorites include the Willis Tower and Tribune Tower. The next vote is historic sites. You can vote on line at Illinois Top 200-dot-com
(Springfield--jc) -- One bill in the state capitol could mean higher gas prices in the state, but also includes safety measures.The bill would require certain safety training for employees at oil refineries that operate in Illinois. Several Republicans said the training and prevailing wage causes an negative business climate in the state. The democrat sponsored bill passed through a committee and is now awaiting a vote in the Illinois Senate.
(Champaign County--jc) Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance finding a man who threatened a Walmart security guard after he was stopped for concealing merchandise under his clothing. The alleged crime took place between 4 and 5pm at the Walmart Store on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign. Anyone with information is asked to contact Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS.
(Chicago--jc) -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…
(Springfield--jc) -- With state legislative leaders signaling they will come up with an official estimate of how much tax revenue they expect to bring in for the coming fiscal year, there is a question of how reliable that figure has been in the past.The state constitution says expenditures should not exceed expected revenues for the year. State statute requires a revenue estimate resolution to be passed in the House and Senate.Two Republican sponsored measures to get an official estimate in the Illinois House were tabled last week by the Democratic leadership.
(Dewitt-rb) Dewitt and Piatt Counties police departments are teaming up to help each other. The two departments will help share funds to get a 911 system upgrade. DeWitt County 911 coordinator Tony Harris talks about the plan…
DeWitt County 911 coordinator Tony Harris
(Springfield--jc) -- New teachers would be guaranteed a starting salary of at least 40 thousand dollars under legislation pending in the Illinois Senate. In updating our story from yesterday, Illinois State Senator Andy Manar says some teachers are living below the poverty line…
Illinois State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill
The current minimum salary for teachers is a salary of 9 up to 11 thousand dollars. That figure was set in 1980
(Clinton-dg) Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton will be having a FREE blood pressure screening on Thursday from 9am to 11am in the Warner Hospital Cafeteria. Stop by to to check out your numbers.
(Washington--jc) The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his corruption convictions, the second time in two years it has declined to take up his case.The nation's highest court offered no explanation for its decision, letting stand the Chicago Democrat's convictions. They included seeking to trade an appointment to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president for campaign cash.
(Warsaw--jc) -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner marked the 25-year partnership between the Illinois National Guard and Polish Armed Forces yesterday. He met with senior officials from Poland’s Ministry of Defense in Warsaw and proclaimed it State Partnership Day in Illinois to recognize the bilateral economic and military ties between the state and Poland. The State Partnership Program between Poland and the Illinois National Guard started in 1993, shortly after the people of Poland emerged as a free nation.
(Springfield--jc) There was only one day suitable for fieldwork over the past week. Some farmers used the day to apply anhydrous ammonia and some light planting. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says winter wheat is coming along…
State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.
There were just a small number of corn planting reports in the entire state. Topsoil moisture is rated at 1 percent very short, two percent short, 65 percent adequate and 32 percent surplus.
(Undated--jc) --The future of Bergner’s stores in the area remains uncertain after an investor group faced a court set-back in their efforts. Bergner’s has area locations in Bloomington’s Eastland Mall, and MarketPlace Mall in Champaign. A sale of assets was the topic of a bankruptcy court on Monday.
(Springfield--jc) More reaction from Springfield over tariffs on imports and exports with China. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says his office and other state agencies have reached out to federal officials with the point that no one wins in a trade war…
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. The governor is currently on a trip to Germany and Poland this week to boost business opportunities between the countries and Illinois.
(Farmer City--jc) -- Farmer City leaders will look to pass its annual budget ordinance when they meet in monthly session tonight. A city manager’s report also hilite’s tonight’s agenda. The Farmer City council meeting comes to order at 6 pm.
7a(Springfield--jc) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office brought in nearly 900 million dollars to the state coffers over the past year. Attorney General Madigan says she is proud of that amount.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
(Bloomington Normal--jc) It was a community service day on Saturday for some Illinois State University Students. Around 200 I-S-U students participated in the Bring it Back to Normal service event. This year, the students helped with over 40 projects in Normal and Bloomington. The service day has been around for 10 years.
(Mahomet-rb) --A package of legislation sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet is designed to strengthen oversight of natural gas storage sites below ground. The legislation has passed through the committee process. Senate Bill 35-48 requires that a company operating a natural gas storage facility that is below ground and above a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-designated sole source aquifer must notify the public immediately if a leak is detected. The issue is now in the hands of the full Illinois Senate.
(Rantoul-rb) Work to get water and wastewater out of a property on the former Chanute Air Force base is now underway. Local leaders in Rantoul have looked at ways to upkeep the property around the old Chanute hospital. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith has ordered a large section of standing water to be pumped out in that area. Local officials also put up a fence to keep everyone away from the property. The property is privately owned, but working with the owners has been an on-going problem.
(Undated--jc) -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary Here is today’s BiCentennial minute..
(Gibson City-rb) Retired and semi-retired folks are invited to meet for coffee and conversation from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the American Lutheran Church, 905 E. First St., Gibson City. The guest speaker will be Steve Kelly, manager of the One Earth Energy ethanol plant in Gibson City.
(Undated--jc) -- One state policy organization is urging Illinois Congressman to support the local food promotion portion of the Farm Bill. The draft to Congress released last week would end funding for those programs. The Farmers Market program supports dozens of Illinois communities and family farms. One program helps low income residents in Champaign. Another grant has helped the Kilgus Farmstead near Fairbury start a farm dairy bottling operation. Debate on the programs and the proposed 2018 Farm Bill continue in a U S House Ag Committee. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance is urging the states Congressmen to support the farmers market portion in the proposed farm bill.
(Springfield--jc) -- A lottery jackpot win in Illinois could become a private affair. Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan that would allow any lottery winner of more than 250 thousand dollars to remain anonymous, including winners of the massive Mega Millions and Powerball lottery drawings. Democratic State Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines, is pushing for the legislation because some winners become targets when they’ve been publicly named as multi-millionaires. The measure cleared a house committee last week.
(Dewitt County--jc) -- A 17 year old juvenile will be tried as an adult on an aggravated battery charge with a shooting incident last week in Farmer City. Michael Cummins was arraigned on the charge on Friday and is being held on a 500 thousand dollar bond. Cummins is due back in court on April 24th. A conviction on charge carries a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years.
(Springfield--jc) -- A new plan at the Illinois Capitol could require local school districts to give some teachers a raise, but doesn't provide any additional funding to do so. The average teacher salary in Illinois is just over 64 thousand 500 dollars. Starting teacher salaries are often about half that. A plan at the statehouse would require schools to start teachers at 40 thousand dollars. The bill is sponsored by Democrat Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill..
Democrat Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill.
Democrat State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur says the bill would end Illinois' teacher shortage. Some local school district officials say they don't have the money. The measure passed a committee and goes to the full Illinois House for a possible vote this week.
(Bloomington--jc) Criminal charges against a former official at U S Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington were dropped on Friday. The Pantagraph reports that charges were dropped against Bart Rogers. Associate Judge Michael Stroh agreed with the defense that legal technicalities required the charges to be dismissed. Charges for 4 others in the case continue. Charges ranging from theft, wire fraud and tax evasion remain against C-I-A-M owners John Butler, Finance Director Kelly Klein, Concessions director Jay Laesch and Beverage Director Paul Grazer. Friday’s ruling by Judge Stroh does leave open the possibility the state could refile charges against Rogers.
(Champaign-rb) Flightstar Corporation has entered into an agreement with the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College for a biannual scholarship program. Flightstar will also be active in interviewing qualified students or graduates for upcoming pilot positions. Flightstar’s goal is to increase access to qualified applicants for pilot positions while also increasing employment opportunities for Parkland's qualified flight graduates.
(Springfield--jc) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a multi-state outbreak of E. Coli infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce. 30 cases have reported in 11 states. 22 people had to be hospitalized. Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Divya Mohan-Little says until the identity of the supplier is found, you should not eat romaine lettuce.
Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Divya Mohan-Little.
All officials know so far is that the lettuce can be traced back to Yuma, Arizona.
(Rantoul--jc) -- A spring business after hour event is set for later this month in Rantoul. The April 26th event will take place from 5-30pm to 7pm at Willow Pond Golf Course. Information about leagues and golf outings will be available. Light refreshments will be served. The Kids Foundation and Shop with a Cop organization will be offering tickets to promote their May golf outing.