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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Sen. Barickman Introduces Plan for School Funding

Springfield- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is joining with colleagues to present a plan to fully fund the state foundation level education grant.

"It's a 'back-to-the-basics' approach that addresses the single biggest school funding problem, the shortchanging of the most important component of state aid," said Senator Barickman. "You can't build anything worthwhile without a solid foundation in place first."

Senator Barickman served on the Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC), which examined the current formula used by the state to determine school funding levels.

"Everyone on the EFAC committee was in agreement about one thing, there are serious flaws in the way we fund schools that lead to inequity," said Barickman. "When you add in the fact that General State Aid has been pro-rated, leaving schools with less money than the formula recommends, you have a major problem."

The Education Funding Advisory Committee was formed after a Senate Republican report that examined the formula. That report noted issues including the fact that the Chicago Public School District receives a disproportionate percentage of state funds, as well as how prioritizing other state education grants has reduced the funds available for foundation level grants.           {article submitted}

"The foundation level is a law specifically designed to guarantee a minimum funding level for all students in Illinois," said Barickman. "Under our plan, we fully fund at this foundation level first. Then we can fund those other programs that have unintentionally diminished our ability to fulfill our basic obligation to all students in Illinois."

The new proposal was introduced in response to concerns that a total revamp of the state school funding formula would not be possible for the next budget year.

"After spending months on the Education Funding Advisory Committee, listening to school officials across Illinois, I am convinced that this simple, common sense approach would be the single best reform we could adopt at this time," said Barickman.

  • Parent Category: News

Construction suspended for Memorial Day holiday

SPRINGFIELD - Most of the state's non-emergency road construction is being lifted this weekend. The idea is to help cut back on congestion as people hit the road for the holiday.

The roadwork will be suspended between 3:00 p.m. Friday and midnight Monday morning. Work zone speed limits are still in effect though, and drivers are urged to obey the posted speed limits.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Motorcyclist injured in Indiana

The driver of a motorcycle was taken to a Lafayette area hospital after hitting a deer Wednesday evening.

The unidentified male driver was driving westbound on State Road 18 just outside of Brookston when he hit the deer around 9:45 p.m.

The extent of the driver's injuries are unknown at this time. The crash remains under investigation by the White County Sheriff's Office.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

30 year federal prison for cocaine dealer

U-S District Judge Michael McCuskey handed a Paxton man a 30-year prison term Wednesday. 32-year-old Eddi "Migo" Ramirez was labeled a ringleader in drug-trafficking circles. Federal prosecutors said Ramirez master-minded a drug network, importing large amounts of cocaine and heroin from Mexico for distribution throughout Central Illinois.

Judge McCuskey called the 32-year-old Ramirez an "All-Star" in the game of drug dealing, adding that this was the biggest drug case he has presided over in his 26 years as a judge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass, who prosecuted Ramirez and 13 co-defendants in the U.S. Court's Central District of Illinois, said Ramirez is the largest drug dealer in some 20 years.

A 12-member jury convicted Ramirez in February of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine — charges that could have landed him in prison for the rest of his life.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Stormy weather brings hail & gusty winds

Reports of large hail and damaging winds swept across parts of Illiana Wednesday afternoon. East central Illinois and parts of west-central Indiana experienced the stormy weather. Rotation was reported in clouds and the NWS was busy trying to determine if funnel cloud reports had any merit.

The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Vermilion, Champaign, Piatt and Douglas counties.

Some widespread hail damage was reported in some areas. Trained spotters reported 3-inch hailstones in Tuscola.  Near Rossville in northern Vermilion County trained spotters reported hail nearly 2-inches in diameter. There were also reports of 2-inch hail just north of Danville.

Hail in the ping-pong ball size range was reported at Monticello and Champaign.  There were also wind gusts of 63-miles per hour at Willard Airport at Savoy.

94.1 WGFA