Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Illinois is still without a budget after the last legislative session ended last week. Here's what that means for LINK card recipients shopping at farmer’s markets:

There are about 450,000 SNAP beneficiaries within the WNIJ listening area, according to Illinois Human Services data. That’s about a quarter of all recipients within the state.

Now, more and more farmers markets in the area are starting to allow those residents to pay with their LINK cards. That includes DeKalb’s market, which is in its fifth year of accepting LINK.

Vicki Snyder Chura / Rochelle High School

A tradition continues at Rochelle High School this morning: it’s “Ag Day,” a showcase for the area’s farming heritage.

Non-farmers will get the chance to climb on tractors, check out the school’s greenhouse, and learn which animals you can pet -- and which ones you shouldn’t.


Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a $25 million federal grant for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center in Peoria Thurs. The aim is to help local manufacturers compete in a rapidly changing industry.

The Peoria-based consultant advises and trains manufacturing companies on ways to increase profits, sustainability and cost-savings. The bulk of IMEC’s clients are small to mid-size companies. That’s why Democratic Senator Durbin says the funding will help give small businesses in Illinois a leg-up in the tech-driven, global market.

Illinois officials say the threat of bird flu required limits on poultry at this year’s Illinois State Fair.

This strain of avian influenza entered the U.S. last December. So far it’s infected flocks in all the states surrounding Illinois.

State Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says it’s resulted in 48 million birds either dying or being killed. Because of that, he says bird exhibitions at the state fair will be limited to Illinois birds.

Ryan Pumroy / WNIJ

Entrepreneurs looking to get in on the business side of Illinois' new medical marijuana program are facing fierce competition.  The state has come out with numbers showing just how much.