>>Memorial Held For Comptroller Topinka
(Countryside, IL) — State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is being remembered as a stand up politician who at times opposed her own party on certain issues. A memorial was held Wednesday in suburban Countryside for the Republican lawmaker who died last week after suffering a stroke. Many politicians and friends were in attendance including Governor Quinn, Governor-elect Rauner, former Governor Thompson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Several people spoke about Topinka’s love for coffee, red hair and the polka.
>>Couple Convicted Of Stealing Millions In Illinois Grants
(Springfield, IL) — A Chicago couple has been found guilty of pocketing millions of dollars in state grant money. Businessman Leon Dingle and Karin Dingle were convicted Wednesday of 17 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. The pair was accused of using three-point-four million dollars from Illinois Department of Public Health grants for their own personal use. Prosecutors say the Dingles bought luxury cars, paid for the renovation of vacation homes in Georgia and South Carolina and covered yacht club expenses. The couple can face dozens of years behind bars and their sentencing is set for April 9th.
>>Pontiac Correctional Center Inmate Death Under Investigation
(Pontiac, IL) — The death of an inmate is under investigation at the Pontiac Correctional Center. Officer found the body of Fabian Carrillo in his cell early Tuesday morning. Authorities are investigating his cell mate as a possible suspect. This is the first murder recorded at the center in 24 years.
>>Sibling Plead Guilty To Tax, Mail Fraud Charges
(Peoria, IL) — Two brothers who once ran a Fast Stop gas station in Peoria are pleading guilty to tax and mail fraud charges. Prosecutors say 50-year-old Shaher Mizyed and his 46-year-old sibling Mohammed both confessed Wednesday that they filed false corporate income tax returns from 2006 to 2010. They can face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for tax fraud when sentenced. Meanwhile, the mail fraud conviction could lead up to 30 years behind bars.
>>Peoria’s Walk For The Mind Raises Fifty Thousand Dollars
(Peoria, IL) — The official count is in. The Mark Linder Walk for the Mind held in September has raised 50-thousand dollars. The Peoria fundraiser was created to support brain cancer research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Mark Linder started the walk in 2003 and died of brain cancer in 2005. Over the last 12 years, the event has raised close to 400-thousand dollars for research.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
>>Agencies Press Rauner For More Money
(Springfield, IL) — Some Illinois state agencies are pressing Governor-elect Bruce Rauner for more money. He says the agencies are going to fall short by more than 760-million-dollars. That’s because they kept spending at high levels this year, even though their budgets were cut short. Rauner won’t say if he’ll support a deal that would cover the shortfall but he says if the money is approved, it’ll add to the state’s multi-billion-dollar bill backlog.
>>Unions File Suit Over Chicago Pension Law
(Chicago, IL) — Another pension battle is brewing in the Illinois court system. Four unions have filed suit against the city of Chicago’s pension law. Union leaders say the law reduces annual increases for retirees who participate in the Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund, and it requires current workers to pay more into the system. They say that’s a clear violation of the state’s constitution.
>>Reminder: People Pay Taxes On Unemployment Benefits
(Springfield, IL) — Anyone who collected unemployment insurance will need to pay taxes on those benefits. State officials say the 1099 form will be emailed out in January. If you need to sign up for the email system, head to Illinois.gov then type 1099-G in the search box.
>>Have A Plan For Drunk Party Guests
(Springfield, IL) — State officials say if you’re planning a big holiday bash, be sure to have a plan for the guests who drink a bit too much. Department of Insurance spokesperson Kimberly Parker says it’s a good idea to have a ride set up for them, get them a cab, or plan to let them sleep over at your house. The idea is to make sure all drivers are safe on the roads.
>>State Fair Mega Pass For Sale
(Springfield, IL) — The State Fair Mega Pass is on sale. It could be a great stocking stuffer for anyone who’s planning to attend the fair in Springfield next summer. Right now, the pass is 55-bucks. It covers unlimited rides on all of the Carnival Midway and Adventure Village attractions for the entire eleven-day duration of the fair. The price of the pass will jump to 70-dollars on January 1st.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
>>Two Missing Girls Found Safe
(Williamson County, IL) — The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is thanking everyone that helped to find two young sisters who were taken by their stepfather. Sheriff Bennie Vick says his department received several calls from people who spotted the Dodge van that Corbyn and Celsie Erwin were in. Those calls eventually led officers to capture Damon Jones and the nine- and seven-year-old girls. Jones is expected to be charged with kidnapping.
>>Henry To Remain On Ballot For Carbondale Mayor
(Carbondale, IL) — The Carbondale Election Board has ruled that there are no objections to longtime businessman John Henry’s candidacy for mayor after questions about his residency. Local attorney Darrell Dunham still believes Henry did not declare his Carbondale residency soon enough to comply with city and state law. He says he may consider appealing after the board releases its statement to the city clerk’s office. Henry will face acting mayor Don Monty in the April 7th election.
>>Village Board Member Sentenced To Court Supervision
(Watseka, IL) — A Loda Village Board member has been placed on three months court supervision. John Zalaker pleaded guilty Monday to disorderly conduct in Iroquois County Court. He was also fined 50 bucks and was ordered to pay 367 dollars in court costs. Zalaker’s criminal charge was in connection with a November 12th altercation that involved several others at Loda Village Hall. He’s been a village trustee for nearly four years.
>>Hoos Appointed To Peoria County 10th Judicial Circuit
(Peoria, IL) — A judicial vacancy in Peoria County has been filled. Assistant State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos was appointed Monday to take over the 10th Circuit court seat. She joined the state’s attorney’s office in 2000 and tried more than 125 jury trials and more than 40 murder cases. Hoos is also a member of the Peoria County Bar Association and the National District Attorney’s Association.
>>Illinois Wesleyan University President To Retire
(Bloomington, IL) — The president of Illinois Wesleyan University has announced that he’s retiring. Richard Wilson plans to step down at the end of next July. He’s in the eleventh year as the school’s top educator. Wilson says he won’t have any part in selecting the next president.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
>>Urbana Mayor Is Seeking Senate Seat
(Urbana, IL) — Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing is putting her hat in the ring for the vacant state Senate seat left by Treasurer-elect Mike Frerichs. The 73-year-old Democrat told the “Champaign News-Gazette” that she’s very qualified for the position. She said earlier she wasn’t interested in the Senate seat, but after talking with friends, Mayor Prussing felt she was the best person to represent local government in Springfield.
>>Woman Overdoses In Parking Lot Of Rockford Rehab Center
(Rockford, IL) — A Rockford woman who experienced an overdose is in the hospital after she was found this weekend in the parking lot of a drug rehab center. Police say she took dozens of pills and was outside of the Rosecrance Rehab Center on Harrison Street. Police believe it was an accidental overdose.
>>IDOC Director To Retire At End Of Year
(Springfield, IL) — Illinois’ top prison official is retiring at the end of the year. Last week, Salvador Godinez told his staff and Governor Quinn of his decision to step down as Department of Corrections director. He was appointed to the post in 2011 by Quinn and was reappointed last March. Godinez spent 27 years of his 42-year career in corrections in Illinois.
>>NAACP Rallies In Peoria Against Grand Jury Decisions
(Peoria, IL) — Civil rights activists in Peoria are looking for an improved relationship between the police and the community. The NAACP marched on Sunday, protesting the grand jury’s decision not to punish cops following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Vice President of the Peoria Branch of the NAACP Marvin Hightower says people are hurt because in the Garner case they had cameras and audio of the attack and there was still no indictment. The group may hold more demonstrations in the future.
>>Sherman Coach On TV’s “Biggest Loser”
(Sherman, IL) — A Sherman teacher who’s on the televised weight-loss competition “The Biggest Loser” has shed 83 pounds. Sonya Jones reduced her weight from 283 pounds to 197. The 39-year-old physical ed teacher and coach at Sherman Elementary School has made through the show’s 12th episode. There were 20 contestants when the show started, Jones is now among the seven finalists.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Princeton 63 – Amboy 33 (Soph: PHS 57-17)
Garrett Duffin scored 17 points, and Dalton Jilderda and Jake Reinhardt added 10 each as the Tigers go to 8-and-1 on the season. The Tigers are off until next Friday night when they host Ottawa. 7:15 airtime on WZOE and streaming audio and video on wzoe.com with Paul Bomleny and Norm Vandermoon.
Bureau Valley 68 – Galva 42
The Storm stay perfect at 11-and-oh on the season. They are off until December 26th when they begin play at the Warkins Tournament in Erie. All BV games from the tourney can be heard on Z98 with Charlie Waca.
At the Colmone Classic:
Hall 62 – Mooseheart 59
Alcott 62 – Hall JV 51
Stark County 48 – Longwood 47 (OT)
Geneseo 58 – LaSalle-Peru 50
Local Illinois State Scholars named
Andrew Berlinski, Principal of Princeton High School is pleased to announce that 11 Princeton High School students from the 2015 graduating class have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars.
The honored PHS seniors are – *Taylor Clark, *Garrett Duffin, *Jacob Gleason, *Nicole Holland, *Brittany Krohn, *Chloe Lund, *Grace Minnick, *Drew Pranka, *Kimberly Schlesinger, *Alison Van Den Bussche and *Joshua Wray.
The WZOE staff would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 2015 Illinois State Scholars.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Princeton 60 – Newman 54 (Soph: PHS 46-43)
Garrett Duffin scored 21 points and Jake Reinhardt 17 as the Tigers go to 7-and-1 on the season and win their home opener.
Princeton is next in action Saturday night, also at Prouty Gym welcoming in the Amboy Clippers. 6:15 airtime on WZOE and streaming audio and video on wzoe.com with Paul Bomleny and Norm Vandermoon.
Bureau Valley 64 – Amboy 32 (Soph: BV 52-47)
The Storm stay perfect and 10-and-oh on the season. They take their unbeaten record to Galva. The airtime is 5:45 on Z98 with Charlie Waca.
At the Colmone Classic:
Fieldcrest 51 – Hall 49
Mooseheart 69 – Hall JV 44
Alcott 28 – Stark County 27
Marquette 70 Woodland 43
Seneca 53 Sandwich 46
>>State Getting Pre-school Money
(Springfield, IL) — Illinois is getting federal grant money to improve early childhood education. The state will see 20-million dollars as part of the Preschool Development Grants program. In total, there are 18 states getting more than 226-million dollars.
>>Sierra Club Appealing Decision On FutureGen
(Springfield, IL) — The Sierra Club is appealing the Illinois Pollution Control Board’s decision to allow the FutureGen project to move forward in Illinois appellate court. The organization argues the Clean Air Act construction permit for the FutureGen coal plant project in Meredosia fails to address significant air quality issues raised by the project’s emissions. They say the pollution board’s ruling contradicts Illinois law, as well as the federal Clean Air Act. Construction is underway on the project, which would retrofit a power plant and store liquefied carbon dioxide underground.
>>Rauner Makes Recommendation For Topinka Replacement
(Chicago, IL) — House Speaker Michael Madigan says there won’t be a special session to pick a replacement for the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. A spokesman for incoming Governor Bruce Rauner said Thursday that Rauner’s legal team met with the legal team of Governor Pat Quinn to relay Rauner’s request that Topinka Chief of Staff Nancy Kimmem be appointed comptroller through January 12th. Quinn hasn’t responded yet to the request.
>>Illiana Expressway Gets Go-ahead From Feds
(Springfield, IL) — The Federal Highway Administration is giving the green light to the start of the “implementation phase” for the Illiana Corridor. The 50-mile tollway will connect Interstates 55 and 65. The project still has hurdles, as Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has not committed to his support on the one-point-three-billion-dollar expressway.
>>Gas Leak Shuts Down Downstate Courthouse
(Elizabethtown, IL) — A gas leak forced the Hardin County Courthouse to close Thursday. Ameren was called to the scene shortly before 1:30, and the leak was detected about a half hour later. It’s expected to re-open Friday morning.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
>>Supreme Court Expedites Pension Appeal
(Springfield, IL) – Supreme Court justices say they’re putting the pension reform case on the fast track. They’ll hear oral arguments about whether the law is constitutional or not in March. A Springfield judge shot the law down, claiming it violates the pension clause of the state constitution which says benefits can’t be impaired or diminished. The state appealed that ruling and asked the Supreme Court to expedite the case. They say lawmakers need to know how to move forward when it comes to crafting a budget for next year.
>>Confusion Over How To Replace Topinka
(Chicago, IL) – There’s a bit of confusion as to how the process works in terms of putting a new State Comptroller in place. The state constitution says the governor must appoint someone to fill the slot until an “elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified.” Some people believe that gives Governor Quinn the right to put someone in place until a new person is actually elected but legislative leaders have a completely different take. They think Quinn’s appointment can serve out the rest of Judy Baar Topinka’s current term, which ends on January 12th, then Bruce Rauner would appoint someone for the job. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is expected to weigh in on the matter soon.
>>School Board Member Under Fire After Offensive Remarks
(Gurnee, IL) – A Warren Township school board member is under fire after making what some are calling an “inappropriate” comment about gay people. During a public meeting last week, Liz Biondi said the district should be careful about hiring a gay superintendent because he or she may be “fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires.” Other school board members and the mayor of Gurnee are outraged by the comment and they want Biondi gone. They say her comments do not represent the community and they’re asking her to resign her position.
>>Rate Hikes Ahead For Ameren, ComEd Customers
(Springfield, IL) – Ameren and ComEd customers are going to be paying more on their bills next month. State regulators approved a deal that gives Commonwealth Edison a 245-million-dollar rate hike. Ameren was approved for a 137-million-dollar-hike. Those who get power from ComEd will pay about two-dollars-and-50-cents more on their monthly bills. Ameren customers may end up paying upwards of six-dollars-more each month.
>>Illinois Not The Most Corrupt State In The Nation
(Undated) – Illinois is known for being one of the most corrupt states in the nation, but it doesn’t top the list. Kentucky and New Jersey are actually worse off when it comes to “legal corruption,” according to a new study from Harvard University’s Center for Ethics. That means politicians in those two states hand out benefits to private groups or individuals in exchange for campaign contributions or endorsements more often than those in Illinois. Illinois comes in at number five in the “illegal corruption” category. That means government officials often hand out benefits in exchange for cash or other gifts.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)
>>State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Dies
(Berwyn, IL) – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has passed away. A spokesman says she died this morning from complications linked to a stroke. He said Topinka was taken to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn Tuesday morning after she experienced some discomfort. The Republican lawmaker won a second term last month in a tough race against Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon. Topinka was 70.
>>Prosecutors Won’t Call Obama Pal To The Witness Stand
(Springfield, IL) – Federal prosecutors say they will not call one of President Obama’ closest friends to the witness stand in a federal fraud case. The decision was made Tuesday, which is one day after a judge ruled that Doctor Eric Whitaker would have been a “hostile witness” if prosecutors decided to call him. The physician from Chicago once headed the Illinois Department of Public Health. Whitaker’s former Chief of Staff Quinshaunta Golden pled guilty in the case to theft and bribery charges and awaits sentencing. Whitaker had become combative with the judge on Monday when he suggested that African Americans were targeted by the feds in fraud cases in the Chicago area.
>>Rockford Man Guilty Of Murder
(Rockford, IL) – A Rockford man will be sentenced next month for a deadly shooting that took place in September. Donald Falls was convicted Tuesday of murdering Harold Anding. He faces up to 60 years in prison. Falls’ sentencing date is set for January 27th.
>>Union County Sheriff’s Department Investigating Church Burglaries
(Union County, IL) – The Union County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a series of burglaries. In less than a week, thieves have targeted seven churches and one business. The United Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Paul Tirey told “WSIL-TV” that burglars got away with a video camera and a laptop. The sheriff’s office urges anyone with information about the burglaries to contact them at 618-833-5500.
>>Peoria Business Selected As Best In The Nation
(Peoria, IL) – A Peoria business is named one of the best in the country. Running Central is listed as a top rated store for 2014 in a pair of publications, “Running Insight” and “Competitor Magazine.” The running apparel store’s credit rating and community commitment are taken into account when evaluated.Filed under Local News, News 2014, News 2014 | Comment (0)