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Illinois Briefs – 7/21/14

July 21st, 2014

Ex-Cons Get Second Shot At Finding Work

(Springfield, IL) — State officials are going to bat for people with criminal records. Governor Quinn signed a law yesterday that bans companies from running background checks on applicants until they’ve been deemed qualified for the job and have been selected for an interview. Those who support the deal say too many people were being turned away from work, even though they’d paid their debts to society. Quinn says the law will help people get a fair shot at reaching their potential, plus it’ll help keep people from turning to the streets to earn a living.

Kids Can Use Medical Marijuana

(Springfield, IL) — Kids who suffer from seizures, cancer, MS, and other debilitating diseases are going to get a bit of relief come January. A new law allows doctors to prescribe non-smokable forms of marijuana to people under 18 to help control their pain and reduce the numbers of seizures they have each day. Parents from all across the state pushed for the law and said they’d move to Colorado to get help for their sick kids if lawmakers didn’t act. They say traditional medications weren’t working and were often making their kids’ conditions worse.

One Dead In Strip Club Shooting

(Washington Park, IL) — A teenager is dead after a shooting outside a Metro-East strip club. Eighteen-year-old DeLarren Patterson was gunned down early yesterday morning as he left the Main Street club, in Washington Park. Two others were injured in the shooting. Police have no suspects.

Benton Fishing Team Wins Second Place At Nationals

(Benton, IL) — A couple high school students from Benton, Illinois are getting national recognition for their ability to reel ‘em in. Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney finished second place in the Bassmaster high school national competition last Friday. The anglers pulled in six-pounds-five-ounces of fish but missed the top prize by just seven-ounces. Richardson and McKinney won a combined five-grand for their stellar performance, but they say they’re hoping to win it all before they graduate. They have two more years to shoot for their goal; they’ll both be juniors this fall.

Woman Arrested After Posting Selfie on Social Media

(West Frankfort, IL) — It’s become quite a fad to snap a picture of yourself and post it onto social media sites, but one selfie landed a West Frankfort woman in the slammer. Danielle Saxton was apparently wearing a stolen dress in the snapshot that she posted on Facebook earlier this month. Someone saw the picture and turned Saxton in just hours after the owner of Mortie’s Boutique posted a shot of the dress and said someone had taken it. Police tracked Saxton down and took her in for retail theft, and on an outstanding drug warrant.

Wide Variety Of Events This Weekend

July 18th, 2014

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, you have plenty of options. Area bicycle enthusiasts are getting ready for the 4th annual Z-Tour tomorrow morning in Princeton. The charity bike ride begins and ends at Zearing Park. There are 5 different routes to choose from featuring distances between 10 and 100 miles. Proceeds from the ride across Bureau County go to the Zearing Child Enrichment Center in Princeton.

Ohio holds their 37th annual “Ol’ Fashun Threshun Days” tomorrow and Sunday south of Ohio, featuring various old-fashion demonstrations and a display of vintage tractors and gas engines. WZOE-AM 1490 will be broad-casting on-location from the event tomorrow morning from 10 to noon.

Sheffield is holding their 4th annual “Music on Main” event. Audio Drive takes the stage at 6 pm and from 9 to midnight it’s the Cal Stage Band. Besides the music, there’s kids water battles and bounce house, pedal tractor pulls for kids, teens and adults, a pie eating contest and plenty of other food and drink to enjoy.

Illinois Briefs – 7/18/14

July 18th, 2014

No Term Limits On November Ballot

(Chicago, IL) — Voters may not be weighing in on whether lawmakers should serve two terms then call it quits. The state’s Supreme Court says it will not expedite a direct appeal of the term limits proposal. A Cook County judge ruled the measure was unconstitutional last month and decided it could not go before voters. GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner asked the Supreme Court to weigh in before August 22nd, when the state board of elections finalizes the ballots. The justices denied the request.

Rauner Calls For Rolling Back Tax Rates

(Chicago, IL) — Bruce Rauner says overhauling the state’s tax structure is a key factor in getting Illinois’ finances back on track. The GOP candidate for Governor wants to roll the personal income tax rates back to three-percent, where they were three years ago. He’ll offset the lower income tax rates by taxing services like mini-storage, sewage and advertising. Rauner’s plan also calls for a freeze on property taxes and phasing the minimum wage up to ten-bucks-an-hour hike.

Critics Slam Rauner Jobs Growth Plan

(Springfield, IL) — GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is unveiling a budget plan that he claims will bring Illinois back from a fiscal crisis. His plan includes rolling back the income tax rates while taxing trailer parks, mini-storage, printing, and more than two-dozen other services. Not surprisingly, Governor Quinn’s team says the plan puts a burden on hard working, middle class families.

Reminder: Don’t Leave Kids In Hot Cars

(Alton, IL) — Experts are reminding parents that it can be extremely dangerous to leave kids in a locked car, even on an overcast day. They say the glass in your vehicle acts as a greenhouse, warming temperatures in just a matter of minutes. That could lead to serious health problems like heat stroke, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. Experts say if you notice a child locked in a hot car, call 9-1-1 and stay there until help arrives.

State Police, Friends Of Cops, Bike Across Illinois

(Alton, IL) — Illinois State Police are biking across the state today. More than 50-cyclists took off from Alton yesterday morning, headed to Chicago on a 325-mile trek. They’ll make stops in Bloomington and Romeoville before they get to their final destination on Sunday. The group is raising money to help support the families of those who’ve died in the line of duty.

Newly fit area lawmaker named to state health & fitness council

July 17th, 2014

An area state representative is being honored by the governor for his turn to a healthy lifestyle. Don Moffitt, who has lost more than 100 pounds, has been appointed a member of Governor Quinn’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness. The council encourages Illinoisans to participate more actively in health and fitness activities. Members appointed to this committee serve without pay. Moffitt says he knows first-hand how big of an impact proper nutrition and exercise can play in one’s overall health and well-being. Moffitt says it wasn’t long ago that he had sleep apnea and was becoming diabetic. He changed his lifestyle and was able to drop the medications, rid himself of sleep apnea and kick diabetes to the curb. He says he hopes to encourage others to make healthy changes, saying he knows they’re not easy but are worth it. Moffitt says some of the healthy changes he’s made include taking 10,000 steps a day, choosing water to drink, and making healthy eating choices.

Illinois Briefs – 7/17/14

July 17th, 2014

Lawmakers Delay NRI Probe

(Chicago, IL) — Lawmakers have decided to go ahead and delay their probe into Governor Quinn’s anti-violence program, but not without having a bit of political theatre first. Only one of the seven witnesses who’d been subpoenaed to testify about the program showed up to a hearing in Chicago yesterday, the rest sent their attorneys. Republicans weren’t happy about that and they grilled the attorneys about handing over emails and other documents that could give insight into the program. Republicans and Democrats sparred throughout most of the hearing, with a 15-minute debate on what time they’d break for lunch, and about an hour debate over when they’d call the witnesses back to testify.

Lawyers File Another Argument For Blago Appeal

(Chicago, IL) — Attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich are giving the judge yet another reason why he should be free. They filed paperwork with the court yesterday, claiming Blagojevich never made any clear promises to give up a job or sell President Obama’s old senate seat when he solicited campaign cash from his donors. Therefore, they claim he never engaged in corruption. Blagojevich was convicted on 18-counts of corruption back in 2010 but his attorneys are asking the judge to overturn the conviction.

Accused Murderer To Defend Himself In Court

(Madison, IL) — A murder suspect in Madison County says he’ll be representing himself in court. Turhan Robinson is locked up for allegedly killing a man in a drug deal gone bad, back in May. He had his first court appearance earlier this week and when a judge told him he could get a public defender, Robinson said, “that would be like me defending myself.”

Woman Riding Train Illegally Before Fall

(Round Knob, IL) — Police say a woman who fell off a freight train in Massac county was never supposed to be there. She and two of her male friends had apparently jumped the train Tuesday night. Police believe they’d been drinking. The woman is in serious condition and is being treated at a St. Louis area hospital.

Elgin Inmate Captured After Eight Hours On Run

(Elgin, IL) — A runaway inmate from the Elgin Mental Health Center is back behind bars. Police say Jesse Vega was busted around 4:00 yesterday afternoon while trying to hail a cab with his handcuffs on. He’d been on the run for about eight hours. The cabbie called and turned him in.

4th annual Z-Tour charity bike ride this weekend

July 17th, 2014

Final preparations are being made for the 4th annual Z Tour this weekend in Princeton. The charity bike ride takes place on Saturday morning, beginning and ending at Zearing Park. Organizers say the event features well-marked bike routes, well-stocked rest stops and a nutritious post-race meal. The race itself provides riders a chance to enjoy some of the best bike roads that Illinois has to offer. The routes feature loops that incorporate hills, rolling terrain, and scenic views of Bureau Creek with minimal traffic. There are 5 different routes to choose from featuring distances between 10 and 100 miles. Registration is $25 in advance and $35 on race day. Proceeds from the ride across Bureau County go to the Zearing Child Enrichment Center in Princeton. More information on Z Tour is available online at z-tour.org.

Illinois Briefs – 7/16/14

July 16th, 2014

Medical Pot Rules Approved

(Springfield, IL) — People with about three-dozen illnesses can start applying for a license to use medical marijuana in September. Lawmakers approved the rules for the pilot program, which will allow patients to get up to two-and-a-half-ounces of marijuana every two weeks. The licenses will only be issued to people who have already been seeing a doctor for their illness. To qualify, patients will need a doctor’s prescription, plus they’ll have to submit to a background check.

Pot Farm Headed To Metro-East

(Marissa, IL) — A small town in the Metro-East could soon be home to a medical marijuana farm. The St. Clair County Zoning Board has given Nature’s Care the green light to build on 14-acres near Marissa, Illinois on Route 13. The company plans to grow marijuana to make candy, cookies, drinks, pills, and other products for the state’s dispensaries. The plan still needs approval from the county and the state but company officials hope to be up and running by this time next year.

NRI Hearing To Go Forward Today

(Chicago, IL) — The feds are once again asking lawmakers to delay its probe into Governor Quinn’s controversial anti-violence program. A legislative audit commission will consider the request by taking a vote at a 10:00a.m. hearing in Chicago. It’s the second time the feds have made the request, but Republicans weren’t willing to agree to it the first time around. If the panel rejects the request and chooses to move forward, it will take testimony from the woman who headed up the program. Barb Shaw will go before the committee to give details about how the program was run and how money was distributed.

Quinn Has More Money On Hand Than Rauner

(Springfield, IL) — Governor Quinn has more money in his campaign war chest than his Republican contender, Bruce Rauner. Quinn has about 12-million-bucks compared to Rauner’s three-and-a-half. But that isn’t saying too much. Rauner dumped millions of his own money into the primary election. There’s no reason to believe he can’t or won’t do the same to win in November. Political experts say the two could very well likely spend up to 100-million-dollars trying to win the election, which will make this the most expensive governor’s race in Illinois history.

Corn, Soybean Crop Looking Good

(Undated) — Illinois’ corn and soybean crops are looking pretty good. The USDA reports that 81-percent of the corn crop is rated as good or excellent. Seventy-five percent of soybeans are in the same good or excellent category. The state’s wheat harvest is about 90-percent complete.

Illinois Briefs – 7/15/14

July 15th, 2014

Emergency Rules For Concealed Carry

(Springfield, IL) — State officials are making emergency changes to the concealed carry permitting process. They’re being more transparent with people who don’t get approved to carry a gun in public. New rules require the Concealed Carry License Review Board to let applicants know why they didn’t get approved and which law enforcement agency objected to their requests to carry. The applicant then has 10 days to provide the board with evidence that proves he or she is eligible to carry.

NRI Probe Will Continue Tomorrow

(Chicago, IL) — Top officials from Governor Quinn’s anti-violence program are slated to testify before a legislative audit commission tomorrow. Seven people have been subpoenaed, including the head of the program, Barb Shaw. Lawmakers are trying to find out what went wrong with the program, why it was rushed into place, and where millions-of-dollars in missing money might be. The feds have asked state lawmakers to delay their hearing by three months so it doesn’t interfere with the criminal investigation, but Republicans aren’t willing to approve the delay.

Scott Losing Nearly 300 Jobs

(Mascoutah, IL) — Scott Air Force Base is slated to cut nearly 300 jobs over the next several years. Officials say both military and civilian positions are on the chopping block, including some middle management positions. Scott isn’t the only base that’s scaling back. The Air Force plans to cut nearly 35-hundred jobs across the country over the next five years.

Mom Sues DCFS After Daughter Killed

(Chicago, IL) — The DCFS is under fire for allegedly failing to protect an eight-year-old Chicago girl. Giselle Ford was killed back in July of last year. She had cuts, bruises, and burns all over her body and reports indicate that maggots had started coming out of a gash on her forehead. Ford’s grandmother and father are facing murder charges for the death but Giselle’s mom says DCFS should also be held accountable. She’s filed a lawsuit claiming investigators checked on Giselle just weeks before she was killed but they never reported any signs of abuse.

Bank Robber Gets Six Years In Valentine’s Day Heist

(East St. Louis, IL) — A Michigan man is headed to the slammer for six-and-a-half years after robbing a bank, then using the cash to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. Ramsey Fakhouri pleaded guilty to the 2013 Valentine’s Day heist. He had his friend point a gun at a female worker while she was stocking an ATM outside a bank just outside of East St. Louis. The two made off with 26-thousand-dollars. Fakhouri’s girlfriend worked at the bank and was actually inside during the heist, but she had no idea that her man was the mastermind behind it.

Illinois Briefs – 7/14/14

July 14th, 2014

Springfield Voters Can Go Back To Houston

(Springfield, IL) — Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has changed his mind about seeking another term. Houston was mayor in the 1980s, and he said when he announced four years ago that he’d run again, it’d only be for a single term. Now, the 70-year-old Houston says that with his wife’s blessing, he’s going to run for another four years in 2015.

State Panel Could OK Medical Pot Rules Tomorrow

(Chicago, IL) — The Illinois Medical Marijuana law could be ready to take effect by early next year. Lawmakers empowered to make the rules to implement the pilot program meet tomorrow in Chicago. If they have no objections, the process could begin immediately. That means applications could be available soon for the estimated 200-thousand potential pot patients, and that the growing and distribution network could start to develop.

Rauner Campaign Doles Out Cast To State GOP

(Springfield, IL) — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to pile up campaign cash, and apparently he’s sharing the wealth. In the latest campaign disclosure report, the Rauner team reports taking in 853-thousand dollars between July 3rd and July 7th from 126 contributors, bringing his total take to more than 25-million dollars since launching his bid to oust Governor Pat Quinn. The new report also showed that the Rauner campaign donated 750-thousand dollars to the Illinois Republican Party, the largest-ever donation from a single candidate.

Citibank Settlement A Windfall For Illinois

(Chicago, IL) — The seven-billion-dollar settlement announced today between Citigroup and the U.S. Government brings some good news for Illinois taxpayers. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the settlement over risky mortgage products will mean 44-million dollars for the state’s shaky pension fund and 40-million dollars in consumer relief. The consumer money will be in the form of help for homeowners and renters, as well as money to reduce the blight caused by foreclosures.

Quinn Says State’s Overdue Bills Shrinking

(Springfield, IL) — Governor Pat Quinn is bragging about winnowing down the state’s pile of unpaid bills to three-point-nine-billion dollars, the lowest point since 2010 when it was just under ten-billion dollars. State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says the picture isn’t that rosy, though. She says Quinn’s not counting Medicaid bills that are waiting to be paid, but not yet past due. Including those bills pushes the backlog to four-point-four-billion dollars.

“Bon Voyage Sunday” as the Marshall-Putnam Fair wraps up

July 13th, 2014

MP Fair Bon Voyage SundayThe 93rd annual Marshall-Putnam Fair wraps up its 5-day run today at the fairgrounds along Route 29 in Henry.  It’s “Bon Voyage Sunday” and events include an antique machinery show, a car, truck and motorcycle show, an auction of chainsaw carvings, and a talent show.  This afternoon’s grandstand event is the Farm Stock Tractor and Truck Pull.  More information on the fair is available at the website marshallputnamfair.org.