Friday, August 26, 2016

Live Long and Prosper in Illinois Corn Field

A corn maze in northern Illinois celebrates the original "Star Trek" television show's 50th anniversary, according to The Northwest Herald.

The Richardson Adventure Farm has turned 28 acres of corn into images of Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and the Starship Enterprise.

The attraction in Spring Grove opens Sept. 3.

The corn maze involves 11 miles of trails cut into a cornfield. When seen from above, the maze appears as an elaborate "Star Trek" tribute.

Co-owner George Richardson tells the newspaper it took length negotiations to get permission to use the images in the corn maze. He says William Shatner, who played Kirk, approved the likeness of his face only after it was made less stern and given a slight smile.

Information provided by The Northwest Herald and the State Jouranl-Register

Governor Signs Second Chance Law With Help From Decatur Woman

Some former felons in Illinois now have a second chance.

Governor Rauner yesterday signed a new law that ends Illinois' regulations that banned people with a criminal background from some state-licensed jobs. 

Decatur resident Lisa Creason found out a 23-year-old conviction meant she could never be a nurse. Her ambitions led to the new legislation allowing felons to petition the state for a health care worker license. 

After earning an associate degree at Richland Community College in 2014, Creason discovered she was prohibited from taking the Illinois exam to become an RN because of an attempted robbery conviction 20 years prior. 

Creason vocalized her dilemma and became part of a task force organized by Democratic state Rep. Camille Lilly of Chicago to change the law. 

The governor says Creason is just one of many ex-offenders who've turned their lives around and deserve a second chance. 

Information provided by the Associated Press and Springfield State Journal-Register

PARCC Scores Show Most Students Miss Math, Reading Benchmarks

Between 60 and 70-percent of students in Illinois aren't where they should be in reading and math. Preliminary results from last year's PARCC test show most students are below grade level in the two subjects. Illinois Superintendent of School Tony Smith calls the numbers "sobering." 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gill To Remain On Ballot

According to the Springfield State Journal-Register, independent candidate David Gill will remain on the Nov. 8 ballot in the the 13th Congressional District, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The decision comes a day after Gill appeared in a federal court in Springfield to seek a preliminary injunction that would prevent the State Board of Elections from removing his name from the ballot despite an earlier State Board of Elections staff review that found Gill had 8,593 signatures considered valid. The number he needed, according to state law, was 10,754.

He turned in more than 11,300.

Rauner Trying To Curb Discrimination Against Business Owners

Governor Bruce Rauner is touting a new program aimed at helping minority-owned businesses in the IT industry.

The governor attended the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce's annual convention in East Peoria Wednesday to talk about what's known as the "shelter marketplace." A shelter market is a state contract that only businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities will be able to bid on.

Rauner says a study that found a history of discrimination against women, minorities and people with disabilities prompted the initiative.

Information provided by WEEK HOI-19

Angry Parents Address Unit 5 Board Over Bus Fiasco

It began with an apology from Superintendent Mark Daniel with a vow that the problems of overcrowding, long rides and students being dropped off  at the wrong locations would be resolved this week. Some Unit 5 board members put the blame squarely on the contracted bus service provider, First Student. Many parents voiced their anger and frustration with the new routes and  bus plans put together after the Unit decided to cut 40 buses due to lack of funds. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

VIDEO: Renner Talks About First-Term Accomplishments and Announces Bid for Another Term

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner spoke to Cities 92.9 about what he felt were the biggest accomplishments in his first term.

Renner cited what he feels is a "new openness" to city hall--making things more transparent and making himself more accessible.

As far as jobs are concerned, Renner said the arrival of Hy Vee and Dick's Sporting Goods are high on the list. Other positives he spoke of included the revisions made to the Galaxy Theater and the Ovation 10 Cinema. He also talked of the closing of Mitsubishi, saying that it could have been worse had the plant employed much younger workers.

We also asked how he would defend the establishment of new taxes and a sale tax increase during his first term.

Renner largely avoided a direct answer and responded in a "moving forward" fashion. He also offered an alternative answer asking where a different mayor would start cutting: Police? Firefighter? Public Works?