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Illinois Briefs – 10/1/14

October 1st, 2014

>>Quinn Holds Slight Lead In New Poll

(Undated)  –  A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows Governor Pat Quinn has a slight lead over Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. The poll of 750 likely voters found 44 percent backed Quinn while 42 percent favored Rauner. Six percent like another candidate while eight percent are still undecided. The poll has a margin or error of four percent. It’s the first survey by Rasmussen Reports where Quinn holds a lead over Rauner.

>>Court Rules In Favor Of Back Wages

(Springfield, IL)  –  An Illinois appellate court ruled that employees of five state agencies should get back pay.  The court ruled the employees should be paid in full even though the legislature didn’t allocate the money for the wages. AFSCME Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch says the decision is a win for employees. Earlier this summer, lawmakers did approve paying the employees some of the money they were owed, but it was less than half of the amount.

>>Quinn Calls First Year Of ACA Successful

(Chicago, IL)  –  Governor Pat Quinn says it’s been a successful first year for the Affordable Care Act in Illinois. He says more than 685-thousand people in Illinois have signed up for health care in the last year. There were 468-thousand that signed up for an expanded Medicaid program and the rest enrolled in private plans. The next enrollment period begins November 15th, and he’s hoping even more people will take advantage of the plan. Get Covered Illinois is in the process of training people that will help others go through the process of signing up for insurance.

>>Simon Collecting Phones For Domestic Violence

(Springfield, IL)  –  Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon is encouraging people to donate their old cell phones. Simon is kicking off Domestic Violence Awareness Month with her fourth annual cell phone drive. She’s working with Verizon to collect old phones as a part of the Hopeline program. Verizon donates ten dollars per phone to benefit domestic violence prevention efforts and domestic violence shelters.  You can donate phones at any Verizon store or at the Lieutenant Governor’s offices in Springfield, Chicago and Carbondale.

>>Dixon Prison Warden Retires

(Dixon, IL)  –  The Dixon Correctional Center warden has retired from her post.  Nedra Chandler had been on paid administrative leave while under investigation from the Illinois Department of Corrections. The investigation started when police arrested Robert Swon on child pornography charges at her home.  Swon is a registered sex offender and had been living at her home since shortly after he was released from prison late last year. Chandler had been working at the prison for 29 years and had been the warden since 2005.

>>Woman Charged In Murder For Hire Plot

(Tuscola, IL)  –  A Tuscola woman is facing charges that she tried to hire a man to kill the wife of a man she was having a relationship with.  Police started investigating Michelle Smith when a man came forward and said she tried to hire him to kill another woman. Smith had been in a relationship with the man for three years and had a child with him. Smith wanted the death to look like a suicide. She’s being held on 500-thousand-dollars bond and is due in court on October 15th.

Illinois Briefs – 9/30/14

September 30th, 2014

>>Hearings On Anti-Violence Program Can Continue

(Springfield, IL)  –  A panel of lawmakers holding hearings on Governor Pat Quinn’s anti-violence program have been given the go ahead to resume their hearings.  Back in July, United States Attorney James Lewis asked the panel to hold off on their hearings on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, have been critical of the program, saying it was about driving up votes in 2010.  Quinn maintains the program was to help fight crime in Chicago.  Senator Jason Barickman, who co-chairs the committee, says they can resume hearings and they plan to do so October 8th.

>>Senator Defends Ed Reform Bill

(Springfield, IL)  –  State Senator Andy Manar says he’s frustrated that Republicans are trying to kill an education reform plan. The Senate approved the bill in the spring. It would shift state funding to the schools that need it the most. Republicans are concerned that the plan will make big cuts to some districts, and they’ve filed a resolution to kill the plan. Manar says his plan is all about trying to balance current inequities. He’s hoping the House will take up his bill this fall.

>>IHSA Will Not Attend Hearing On Organization

(Bloomington, IL)  –  IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman told member schools Monday that the organization will not attend Friday’s hearing on the organization. The Elementary and Secondary Education Committee is holding a hearing about the IHSA Friday in Chicago. Hickman says the IHSA will not be able to testify or call witnesses during the hearing.  He criticized State Representative Chapa LaVia, saying the process “is like teaching students you can silence your critics by setting up rules that don’t let them have a voice.”

>>Chicago Man Charged In SIU Bomb Plot

(Chicago, IL)  –  A federal grand jury has indicted a Chicago man for a series of bomb and violence threats against Southern Illinois University.  Derrick Dawon Burns is facing eight federal charges of the threats against students, staff and faculty.  Burns is alleged to have made the threats on two days in October of 2012, once in December of 2012 and once in October of last year. Burns is due in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.  Each of the eight charges carries a potential sentence of up to ten years in prison.

>>Farmers Make Progress With Corn Harvest

(Springfield, IL)  –  Illinois farmers took advantage of warm, dry conditions last week to move along the corn harvest.  State crop statistician Mark Schleusener says 14 percent of corn has been harvested. That’s ahead of last year’s pace, but behind the five-year average.  He says 83 percent of the crop is in good to excellent condition.  Meanwhile, 68 percent of soybeans are dropping leaves and seven percent of beans are in the bin.

Former Princeton Man Killed In Quad Cities Car Crash

September 29th, 2014

The investigation continues into the death of a former Princeton resident in a car crash in the Quad Cities.  Andrew Scott Adams of Orion was killed just after 2 am Sunday in Davenport, Iowa.  The 21 year old Adams and friend Danny DeBacker, 22, also of Orion, were killed when their car was struck at the intersection of 12th and Brady streets.  Davenport Police say alcohol use was “a main contributing factor” in the crash.  The driver who hit them, Kai Miller, 24, of Davenport, is charged with homicide by vehicle and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  Witnesses say Miller’s car was traveling at a high speed when the crash occurred.  Police say Miller broadsided a car driven by Adams.  Miller was treated and released for injuries at a Davenport hospital.  An investigation by the Davenport Police Crash Investigation Unit continues.

Illinois Briefs – 9/29/14

September 29th, 2014

>>Obama Stumping For Quinn

(Chicago, IL)  –  President Obama is stumping for Governor Quinn this week.  He’ll be in Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday and will attend an event on Quinn’s behalf.  Michelle Obama is also trying to help Quinn beat Bruce Rauner this November.  She’s slated to headline a rally for Quinn on October 7th.

>>Aurora Air Traffic Control Center Still Down

(Aurora, IL)  –  It’ll be a few weeks before things are all the way back to normal for flights in and out of Chicago.  The Aurora Air Traffic Control Center won’t be functioning at full capacity for at least a couple of weeks.  The FAA estimates the center will be at full service sometime around October 13th.  A contract worker set fire in the basement of the center last week and tried to slash his own throat before authorities arrived.  He survived the suicide attempt and is facing federal charges.

>>UI Pays To Settle Sex-Assault Case

(Champaign, IL)  –  The U of I agreed to dish out nearly 80-thousand dollars to settle a sexual assault case.  A female student went to the U.S. Department of Education on the university claiming officials had minimized her sexual assault and harassment complaints from 2011, even after she’d produced evidence to support the accusations.  Members of a fraternity allegedly passed pictures and videos of the assault.  According to the “Chicago Tribune,” the university agreed to settle last year but didn’t admit to doing anything wrong.  They also agreed to make changes to the student discipline code and to provide better staff training to handle sex assault cases.

>>Driver Charged After Allegedly Falling Asleep

(Murphysboro, IL)  –  A Murphysboro man is facing legal troubles after allegedly falling asleep behind the wheel.  Officials say Travis Clark was passed out in a car at the intersection of South 8th and Mulberry Streets around 10 a.m. last Friday.  He had a two-year-old kid in the back seat.  Clark was allegedly high on drugs when police approached him.  He’s been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and endangering the life and health of a child.

>>Several Businesses Impacted By Rock Island Fire

(Rock Island, IL)  –  The District of Rock Island is trying to pick up the pieces after a weekend fire burned down several businesses.  The fire broke out just after 4:00 Sunday morning in the 200-block of 18th Street.  It took crews several hours to battle the blaze, which impacted a tattoo parlor, a pizza shop, and at least six other businesses.  The building once housed the Mississippi Café and was actually slated to be demolished today.   No injuries were reported.

Illinois Briefs – 9/26/14

September 26th, 2014

>>Congresswoman Takes Heat For Breaking Campaign Promise

(Moline, IL)  –  Congresswoman Cherri Bustos is taking heat over a campaign promise that she didn’t keep.  She said she’d cut her own pay by ten-percent if she was elected two years ago but she never made good on the deal.  Bustos says she made a mistake and spoke too soon, without clearing it with her husband first.  She beat out Bobby Schilling back in 2012 but he’s trying to get his job back.  He says the fact that Bustos broke her promise is proof that she can’t be trusted.

>>Unemployment Down In Every County

(Springfield, IL)  –  Unemployment numbers are down in every metropolitan area in the state, compared to this time last year. In August of 2013, Decatur was struggling with a 12-and-a-half-percent unemployment rate. That number has fallen by more than three-percentage-points and now sits at nine-point-four-percent. The Danville area has the highest unemployment rate right now. It’s at nine-point-seven-percent.

>>Madigan Taking Lead On Jimmy John’s Breach

(Chicago, IL)  –  Anyone who used their credit or debit cards at Jimmy Johns between June 16th and September 5th should keep a close watch on their accounts.  If they notice any unauthorized activity, they should report immediately.  The sandwich chain says more than 200 of their restaurants got hit by hackers, including some in Springfield, Champaign, Charleston, Quincy, Collinsville and Chicago. Jimmy John’s is offering credit protection services to customers are impacted by the breach.

>>Syverson Not Happy With New Smoking Ban Proposal

(Springfield, IL)  –  State Senator Dave Syverson [[ SEE-ver-son ]] isn’t happy about the state’s plan to ban smoking on outdoor patios and beer gardens. He says business owners spent big money building the decks to accommodate their smoking customers and changing the law sends the message that their bottom dollar doesn’t matter.  The current law prohibits indoor smoking at restaurants but allows customers to smoke outside as long as they’re 15-feet away from a door or window.  A new proposal would change that and ban smoking on all decks and patios where a server is passing out food and drinks.  Syverson says that will ultimately hurt jobs.

>>Shop Illinois Next Saturday

(Springfield, IL)  –  Illinois Main Street and the Illinois Department of Agriculture are encouraging people to “Shop Illinois” on Saturday, October 4th.  That means they’d commit to buying products that are made right in their own back yards.  They can get a list of local business that sell Illinois-made products online at BuyIllinoisChallenge.com.  State officials say people could pump nearly two-and-a-half-billion-dollars back into the local economy if they spent just ten-bucks-a-week on Illinois grocery products.

Illinois Briefs – 9/25/14

September 25th, 2014

>>IDOT Workers Can Stay On The Job

(Springfield, IL)  –  Governor Quinn has to hold off on firing 58 IDOT workers. They were supposed to be let go at the end of the month but a judge says they can stay on the payroll until they’ve had their day in court.  The union that represents the workers filed suit against Quinn claiming he has no legitimate reason to lay them off. They say Quinn is only letting them go so he can save face during a heated campaign season. The Quinn administration has been under fire for hiring hundreds of staff assistants based on clout instead of skill.

>>Illinois Spends Big On Political Races

(Undated)  –  People in Illinois can expect to see an overload of political ads in the next few weeks.  A new report reveals politicians and Political Action Committees have already paid for about 35-thousand-ads since the campaign season heated up in early 2013. The total tab of the ads comes in at about 26-and-a-half-million-dollars. Political experts say that number could quadruple by the time Election Day rolls around on November 4th.

>>Cain Stumping For Oberweis

(Hoffman Estates, IL)  –  Herman Cain is stumping for Jim Oberweis.  The 2012 GOP presidential hopeful will make a stop in Hoffman Estates on October 3rd to raise cash for Oberweis, who’s looking to unseat U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.  The reception is being held at the Stonegate Banquet and Conference Center.  Tickets range from 50-bucks-to-26-hundred-bucks.

>>New Veterans Home In Springfield

(Springfield, IL)  –  A shelter in Springfield is getting more than a-million-bucks to add beds for homeless veterans.  Governor Quinn stopped through the capital city yesterday to announce the investment at the Salvation Army of Sangamon County.  They’re in the process of renovating an old office building at Ninth and Jefferson Streets.  The cash will help double the shelter’s capacity from 36-beds to 72.  The new facility will also provide medical services and job training in a new computer lab.

>>More Than 350 Businesses Want Medical Marijuana Licenses

(Springfield, IL)  –  More than 350 businesses are hoping to grow or dispense medical marijuana in Illinois.  They turned their applications in to state officials earlier this week.  A panel will now sift through the applications and determine which businesses will be approved.  The state will hand out licenses for 22 cultivation centers and 60 dispensaries before the end of the year.

Update on Rural Princeton House Fire

September 24th, 2014

 

New information is in on a house fire Tuesday afternoon near Hornbaker Gardens southeast of Princeton. Numerous fire departments responded to the blaze, a fully involved structure fire on 1140 North Avenue. A nearby bean field was also on fire, and Hennepin firefighters assisted Princeton’s in putting out that blaze. Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley says firefighters were on the scene from 2:45 pm to 10:30 at night. No one was home, so there were no occupants injured. Woolley also says no firefighters were injured while putting out the fire. He says the building is owned by Ernie Parr of Princeton. The home and its contents were a total loss. Woolley says the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time. The State Fire Marshal Office is assisting with the investigation.

Illinois Briefs – 9/24/14

September 24th, 2014

>>Democrat Calls Education Reform Plan a “Disaster”

(Westchester, IL)  –  A Democratic state rep is going on the record about how bad a popular education reform proposal is.  Representative Chris Welch says Senate Bill 16 is a disaster that would devastate schools in his west suburban Chicago district.  Democratic senator Andy Manar, from Decatur, is behind the reform measure which aims to divvy up state funds to schools based on need.  Some argue too many schools would lose much needed state funding under the proposal.  Welch signed on to a resolution that urges lawmakers to stop trying to pass the bill.

>>Chicago Mayor Wants Reduced Drug Penalties Across Illinois

(Chicago, IL)  –  People who are busted with small amounts of marijuana could soon skip being arrested.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants lawmakers to pass a law that allows police officers to write a 250-or-500-dollar ticket to anyone who’s caught with less than 15-grams of pot. He says they’ve already implemented the change in the city and seen a drastic reduction in the number of arrests.  Emanuel says it’ll free up cell space and keep officers on the streets so they can fight more serious crime.

>>Inmate Still On The Run

(Vandalia, IL)  –  The search continues for an escaped inmate in southern Illinois.  Marcus Battice took off from behind Vandalia Correctional Center sometime around 2:00 yesterday afternoon.  He was considered a low-risk for escape because he was a non-violent offender, serving four years for having possession of a stolen car.  Battice is a light-skinned black man about five-foot-seven and 167-pounds. People who see him should not approach but should call authorities immediately.

>>Hospital Director Arrested For Stealing Money

(Springfield, IL)  –  The Executive Director at a children’s hospital in Springfield is behind bars and accused of stealing at least 500-thousand-dollars.  Officials say Margaret Curtin has been taking money from St. John’s Hospital since 2008.  Hospital officials contacted authorities after they discovered financial irregularities related to certain hospital operations.  An investigation led police to Curtis. She’s been suspended without pay and is being held at the Sangamon County Jail on one-million-dollars bond.

>>Prescription Drug Take Back Day This Saturday

(Alton, IL)  –  People who have unused prescription drugs sitting around their homes can get rid of them safely this weekend. Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  Police departments across the state will accept unused prescription drugs between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  The idea is to cut back on prescription drug abuse.  Stats reveal about seven-million Americans abuse prescription drugs and more than four-thousand youth and young adults have their first experiment with them every day.

Numerous Fire Departments Battle Rural Princeton Fire

September 23rd, 2014

No word yet on any injuries from a house fire this afternoon near Hornbaker Gardens southeast of Princeton.  Numerous fire departments responded to the blaze, a fully involved structure fire.  A nearby bean field was also on fire, and Hennepin firefighters assisted Princeton’s in putting out that blaze.  Princeton’s Fire Department also called for mutual aid from Malden, Seatonville, Bureau, Wyanet, Tiskilwa, Ohio, DePue, Spring Valley and Ladd.  Officers from the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department were also assisting at the scene.  The fire reportedly was under control shortly after 3:30.  Again, there’s been no report of any injuries so far.  We’ll keep you informed with the latest on WZOE-AM 1490 and at wzoe.com.