Friday, September 30, 2016

Champaign Shooting Suspect in Custody

The suspect in a deadly weekend shooting at a party near the U of I has surrendered to officials at the county jail. Robbie M. Patton,18, is expected to be charged with first-degree murder in the Sunday death of a 22-year-old man. Three other people were injured. 

Governor Pushes For Inmate ID Cards

Governor Rauner wants to make it easier for someone getting out of prison to get a second chance. The governor yesterday joined a number of Chicago Democrats to push for inmate ID cards.  The cards are designed to make it easier for inmates to find jobs or homes once they get out of prison. Illinois currently gives inmates an ID that's good for 30 days.  The new plan would make a permanent ID free and give inmates 90 days to get one.

Judge Denies Appeal On Ruling Of Election Day Voter Registration Law

A federal judge isn't backing down on his decision to block the Illinois Election Day voter registration law.  The ruling handed down earlier this week declared the policy unconstitutional.  The law had required counties with populations of 100-thousand or more to offer Election Day registration at all polling places.  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to take the case to federal appeals court after her initial appeal to reverse the judge's decision was denied yesterday.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Early Voting Begins For Illinois

Illinois voters may begin casting their ballots for the Nov. 8 election as early, in-person voting starts Thursday in Illinois and runs through Nov. 7.

In many of Illinois' most populous counties, election officials will be operating multiple early voting centers. Some will be open on Saturday's. In rural areas voters will cast ballots at their county clerk's office.

Voters can find an early voting location by visiting the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Steven Sandvoss is executive director of the state board. He says early voting has proven to be a popular option in Illinois because of the convenience.

In the November 2012 election, more than 1 million voters cast ballots early. That was about 22 percent of the total ballots cast.

Information provided by WEEK HOI-19

Champaign Man Wanted In Shootings Near U of I Campus

Police are searching for an 18-year-old Champaign man following a deadly shooting over the weekend near the University of Illinois campus.  An arrest warrant has been issued for Robbie Patton, charging him with the murder of George Korchev.  Authorities say the Mundelein man was killed and three others were hurt when gunshots were fired early Sunday in an area of Champaign known as Campustown.  Patton pleaded guilty to a gun crime in April and was sentenced to eight years in prison.  He served time in a boot camp instead and was released just over two weeks prior to the shooting.

Unit 5 Gives First Student Until the Weekend to Get Bus Problems Fixed

School Bus Contractor First Student has until the weekend to fix Unit 5's busing problems or lose its contract. The contract states that Unit 5 has until Oct. 1 to notify First Student that it would be terminating the contract, effective at the end of the school year. Superintendent Mark Daniel recommended the board exercise that option at Wednesday's meeting, but First Student says they have a plan to correct the problems and is asking for more time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Medical Marijuana Case Investigating Illinois Doctor

A southern Illinois doctor who works at a clinic where many patients try to access the state's medical marijuana program has been subpoenaed in a state and federal investigation.

State officials told the "Southern Illinoisan" that the investigation is in response to alleged improper control-substance prescriptions from Dr. Bodo Schneider.

Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation spokesman Terry Horstman said the terms of the subpoena require Schneider to provide medical records to the state regulatory agency by Oct. 7.

Horstman said an administrative law judge was informed of the subpoena during the most recent status hearing in the case involving Schneider on Sept. 16. The administrative law judge was also told that Schneider rejected an offer by the department's State Medical Licensing Board at an informal meeting Aug. 19.

Schneider, a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield of Medicine in Springfield, is the medical director of clinics in Marion in southern Illinois and Orland Park in suburban Chicago. He is one of only a few doctors in southern Illinois participating in the state's medical marijuana program.

Regulators say Schneider charged patients for marijuana recommendations at his offices without a legitimate doctor-patient relationship. The state says the acts he's accused of are grounds for suspending or revoking his Illinois medical license.

Information provided by the Springfield Journal-Register 

Federal Judge Blocks Illinois' Election Day Voter Registration Law

A federal judge is blocking Illinois' Election Day voter registration law six weeks before the presidential election.  The ruling handed down yesterday declared the policy unconstitutional because it created different rules for cities and rural areas in the state.  The law had required counties with populations of 100-thousand or more to offer Election Day registration at all polling places.  Officials say people can still register and vote on November 8th but only at a limited number of sites including the county clerk's office.

Illinois Manufacturers Say Taxes Could Follow Business Reforms

The head of Illinois' manufacturers says his group could back a sales tax expansion or a new service tax.  But only if Illinois lawmakers adopt much-needed business reforms first.  Greg Baise with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association yesterday said the state's business climate is driving manufacturing jobs to Indiana or Michigan.  Baise says he could support some new taxes to pay Illinois' mountain of debt.  But he's insisting on workers comp reform and other business changes first.

Donald And Ivanka Trump Campaigning In Illinois Today

Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka will be campaigning in Illinois today.  The Republican presidential nominee is headlining a fundraising luncheon at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.  The event has been rescheduled twice.  Ivanka is making stops in Quincy, Peoria and Chicago.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Man Allegedly Stabs Wife, Crashes Truck, Jumps Off Peoria Bridge

A German Hills man was rescued after crashing his truck on the McClugage Bridge in Peoria and jumping into the river. 

But wait...the plot thickens...

The man, now identified as 41-year-old Brett Davis, jumped off the bridge shortly after allegedly stabbing his estranged wife in the neck. 

Woodford County State's Attorney Greg Minger said Monday night his office obtained $1 million arrest warrant for Davis on an attempted murder charge in the stabbing of Kristen Davis. 

Minger believes the attack occurred near Davis' home at 404 Bittersweet Ave. After the attack, Davis jumped into his blue pickup truck and sped away. He was westbound on the McClugage Bridge when his truck slammed into a guardrail. Witnesses said he then got out of his vehicle and jumped in between the two spans. 

He fell between 40 and 50 feet and landed in the barge canal, which is the deepest part of the river. 

The current, however, pushed him downstream toward the eastern bank, where the Peoria Fire Department's Rescue Boat pulled him out of the water. 

"He's very lucky," Peoria Fire Chief Tom Carr, said. 

Both Brett Kristen Davis are in Peoria hospitals. 

Information provided by the Peoria Journal Star

Bloomington Home Destroyed By Fire

No one is hurt after a fire destroyed a home in Bloomington.  Officials say the blaze started yesterday morning in the 800 block of Bunn Street.  Everyone inside was able to escape.  The flames caused around 15-thousand dollars worth of damage.

Police Still Searching For Suspect In Shootings Near U of I Campus

A search continues to find the suspect involved in a deadly shooting near the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.  Police say George Korchev and three others were found shot early Sunday in the 300 block of East Green Street after a fight broke out during a nearby apartment party.  Korchev died at the hospital while the other victims suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Authorities are reviewing footage from surveillance cameras and cell phone videos to try determine who the shooter is.

Video Gaming Price Tag: Three-Quarters Of A Billion Dollars

Video gaming is making a lot of money for government in Illinois. The Lee Newspapers crunched the numbers and say video poker machines across the state have earned 785-million dollars for state and local governments since late 2012. Six of the top ten cities for both video gaming terminals and money made are in downstate Illinois. None of them are in western Illinois. 

Counties Worry About Court Cost Ruling

The Illinois Supreme Court wants to make sure people don't sit in jail because they can't pay their fines or make bail. But counties across the state worry the court's good idea will cost them a lot of money. McDonough County leaders are trying to figure out how to manage without some bail dollars or other court fees. The Supreme Court's Access to Justice ruling is set to change what counties and courts can charge defendants next year. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

State Fundraising Cap Lifted After Possible Family Donation

A $260,000 donation to the Republican incumbent Leslie Munger's bid for Illinois comptroller has lifted the caps on political contributions and guarantees a big-money race against Democrat Susana Mendoza.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections the money is a loan from Munger's husband, attorney John Munger. Munger's spokesman didn't immediately return a message.

Mendoza, Chicago's city clerk, called the move "beyond the pale."

State campaigns finance law limits donations, but it also says if a candidate or family member contributes more than $250,000 to his or her own race, the limits come off for all candidates.

Munger was appointed in 2015 after the death of Republican Judy Baar Topinka. The winner of November's four-way contest, with Libertarian and Green Party candidates, will finish the remainder of the four-year term.

Information provided by the Springfield Journal-Register

Threat Of School Strike Looming Over Chicago

Teachers in the third-largest public school district have overwhelmingly voted in support of strike, though the earliest one could occur is mid-October.

The Chicago Teachers Union said Monday that 95 percent of its voting members favored strike authorization.

The support was expected as about 88 percent supported a strike during a similar December vote.

The union, which represents over 25,000 members needs 75 percent and 10 days of notice before a walkout.

The Chicago Teachers Union's governing body meets Wednesday to determine their next steps. If they decide to give notice, the first possible day of the strike would be Oct. 11. Cost-of-living raises, pension contributions and health care have been the key issues since the contract expired last year.

Teachers staged a one-day walk in April, and the last major strike was in 2012.

Information provided by the Associated Press

One Killed, Four Hurt In Shootings Near U of I Campus

Authorities are investigating two shootings near the University of Illinois campus in Champaign that killed one person and injured four more.  Police say George Korchev and three others were found shot early yesterday in the 300 block of East Green Street after a fight broke out during a nearby apartment party.  A fifth person was wounded about 30-minutes later in the 700 block of South State Street.  Korchev died at the hospital while the other victims suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Both incidents are believed to be related.

Independent Congressional Candidate Takes Ballot Fight To SCOTUS

Central Illinois Congressional candidate David Gill is appealing his appearance on the ballot to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Gill is trying to run as an independent in the 13th District. Gill is facing a challenge to his candidacy because he did not collect the needed number of signatures.

IDOT Looking To Hire Seasonal Workers

The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking for seasonal employees for the upcoming winter. The department announced last week it needs help with snow and ice removal from both full-time and on-call employees. Applicants must pass a criminal background check and have a commercial driver's license.

Friday, September 23, 2016

State Police Asking For Help In Solving Death Of Ladd Woman

State Police is asking the public for help in solving the homicide of a Ladd woman found dead in Putnam County.  Deborah Dewey had been missing for weeks when her body was discovered buried in a yard earlier this month outside a vacant home in Standard.  Her brother-in-law, Clifford Andersen, has been charged with concealing her death.  Investigators are trying to find someone who knows what Andersen was doing before Dewey was found

Contract Of Heyworth Superintendent Not Extended

The Heyworth school district will be looking for a new leader.  The "Pantagraph" reports the board voted Wednesday night against extending the contract of Superintendent Ty Wolf.  He has served in the position since 2012.  His contract expires June 30th.

Illinois 29th On Road Efficiency List

Illinois is in the bottom half of states when it comes to the quality of our roads.  A new report from the Reason Foundation ranked all 50 states based on highway spending, road conditions, traffic and the number of people who die in wrecks each year.  Illinois is ranked 29th.  That's one spot below Wisconsin, but seven spots higher than Indiana.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Museum Of Amish History Planned Near Decatur

Efforts to open an Amish history museum in Illinois are underway after the oldest-known Amish house in the state was moved to the site set aside for the project west of Chesterville, which is about 30 miles east of Decatur.

The house was moved by plow horses and then a Diesel truck. The 1866 farmhouse and another that dates back to 1882 were moved Tuesday morning. They will be restored to their 19th-century prime and form part of the new Illinois Amish Museum and Heritage Center.

The Illinois Amish Preservation Foundation is creating the museum heritage center.

The foundation has raised more than $100,000 for the project. The restoration of the farmhouse, and another one dating back to 1882, is expected to cost about $250,000. j

Community development director Bob Doan is optimistic the project is going to help the local economy. Doan said tourists never lose their fascination with the Amish culture.

The Illinois Amish Museum and Heritage Center is scheduled to open by the summer of 2017.

Information provided by the Springfield State Journal-Register

Unit 5: Call in the Nat'l Guard to Drive Buses

Unit 5 School District may turn to National Guard members as possible fill-in drivers and to Gov. Bruce Rauner and other officials for help streamlining the hiring process. Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district needs drivers who have commercial driver's licenses and have already passed drug tests and security background checks to step in quickly to offset the driver shortage and that Guard memebers, police and firefighters would be asked to step in.

Illinois Manufacturing Association Chief Warns Of Crisis

The head of Illinois' manufacturer's association says more jobs will leave the state until state government gets its house in order. Greg Basie, who head the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, spoke with "Argus Dispatch" and painted a grim picture. Baise says Illinois has lost more than 300-thousand manufacturing jobs since 2000. Baise says the Quad Cities has lost 20-percent of its manufacturing jobs in the same time frame. Baise the state needs to balance its budget, stop taxing businesses so much, and improve its business climate before it's too late.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Poll Says 75-Percent Think Illinois Is On Wrong Track

Three-quarters of voters in Illinois think the state is on the wrong track. A new Loras College poll asked voters if they are 'sour' on the state's future. Only 14 percent of voters think Illinois is headed in the right direction, Pollsters say an overwhelming 75-percent of people think the state is going the wrong way. Another eleven-percent say they don't know.

Illinois Environmental Group Wants Lead Testing In Schools

One of Illinois' leading environmental groups want new requirements for schools to test their pipes for lead. The Illinois Environmental Council is pushing for a law to require elementary schools in Illinois test for high levels of lead in drinking fountains, sinks and other water sources. . Illinois' Association of School Administrators say the goal is worthy, but they worry about adding another cost to the state's already cash-strapped schools.

State Farm Faces Class-Action Lawsuit

A federal judge has approved class action status for a lawsuit accusing State Farm of violating federal racketeering laws by directing money into the election campaign of a state Supreme Court justice in hopes of influencing a ruling. The Pantagraph reports the lawsuit is related to an alleged plot to influence a decision by the Illinois Supreme Court on an appeal of a $1.05 billion verdict against State Farm in a 1997 lawsuit. About 4.7 million policyholders could benefit from an estimated $7.6 billion payout.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rauner Covers Multiple Issues On First Facebook Live Post

Gov. Bruce Rauner answered questions about state government issues and revealed some new plans about Illinois' 200th birthday during his first-ever Facebook Live appearance on Tuesday.

Rauner spent 30 minutes talking on the social media website's popular live video feature. The video stream attracted between 500 and 600 simultaneous viewers throughout the chat.

Responding to questions sent in by viewers, Rauner addressed common state government issues such as the budget, pension reform, property taxes, legislative redistricting and term limits for elected officials. In speaking about those issues, he repeated many of the same talking points he has used in appearances throughout the state over the last several weeks.

Rauner said he plans on conducting additional Facebook Live chats in the future.

David Gill Will Not Be On Ballot After Panel Vote

David Gill, an independent candidate for Illinois' 13th Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Congressman Rodney Davis, has been removed from the ballot by the State Board of Elections.

A panel voted 4-2 on Monday that sustained an objection to David Gill's petitions because he did not have enough valid signatures needed by an independent.

Independent candidates need 10,754 signatures to make the ballot, while Democrats and Republicans need around 735 signatures.

Gill had previously run for Congress four times as a Democrat.

Some information provided by Central Illinois News Now

Loras Poll: Clinton 43, Trump 30 In Illinois

Hillary Clinton is down in the latest poll In Illinois, but she still has a firm lead.  Pollsters at Loras College asked 600 likely voters about their choices for president.  The poll shows 43-percent of voters want Hillary Clinton to win.  Donald Trump has 30-percent of the vote.  Gary Johnson has eight-percent of the vote and Jill Stein has three.  But the same poll shows nearly 60-percent of voters say they're dissatisfied with both major candidates running this year.

Rauner: No Imminent Threats In Illinois

Governor Rauner says there are no imminent threats in Illinois following recent bombings in New York City and New Jersey.  The governor made the proclamation yesterday during a meeting of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.  He urged people to be vigilant and report anything suspicious immediately.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rauner Aims To 'Root Out' Improper Hirings

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says work continues to "root out" improper patronage hiring in state government.

The Republican told reporters Monday that he wants to expand the staff of the executive inspector general but the lack of a state budget has slowed that effort.

Rauner trumpeted the dismissal of 29 remaining "staff assistants" at the Illinois Department of Transportation. The inspector general declared in a report two years ago that hundreds of people had been hired improperly at IDOT under two previous Democratic governors.

Rauner says improper patronage hiring is occurring in "virtually every department."

Steve Brown, spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, said Democrats are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure proper hiring.

Information provided by the Springfield State Journal-Register

New Illinois Supreme Court Justice Selected

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier has been selected by his peers on the state's highest court to be its next chief justice.

The state Supreme Court on Monday announced Karmeier's unanimous selection to a three-year term beginning Oct. 26. He will be the chief administrative officer of the state's judicial system and oversee more than 900 judges in Illinois.

Karmeier has served on the Supreme Court since 2004. He received attention for voting in 2005 overturning a $10.1 billion class-action judgement against Phillip Morris over past efforts to market "low-tar" and "light" cigarettes as healthier alternatives. Plaintiffs' attorneys wanted him recused from the case, saying he had received contributions from Phillip Morris, which Karmeier denied.

Karmeier is replacing Justice Rita Guzman, who is finishing a three-year term as chief justice.

Information provided by the Springfield Journal-Register

No More 'Zero Tolerance' In Illinois Schools

Illinois schools are going to have to update their discipline policies. A new state law bans zero tolerance rules, and limits long-term suspensions and expulsions. Schools can still remove a student from class or the school, but only after several second chances or a serious infraction. State Senator Kimberly Lightford proposed the plan. She says the goal is to keep as many students as possible in class. The law took effect last week.

Governor Rauner Contributes Cash In Missouri's Governor's Race

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is once again expanding his political aid out of the state. Campaign records show Rauner contributed 100-thousand dollars to Missouri Republican candidate Eric Greitens. The donation comes on the heals of a similar 100-grand check to Indiana's Republican candidate. The governor has yet to explain either donation.

Harvest Means Slower Agriculture Vehicles

Illinois farmers and State Troopers are reminding drivers that harvest means a lot of slow-moving farm vehicles will be moving down rural roads. Farmers are just starting to bring-in their corn and beans across western Illinois. It'll take a few weeks to get the full crop out of the field. The USDA is expecting both record corn and soybean crops this year.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Normal Man Killed In Logan County Crash

A Normal man is dead following a Logan County crash involving a vehicle and two semis.  Authorities say Aaron Kolls was driving a Jeep Tuesday night on I-55 when he was hit by two trucks near Lawndale.  Kolls died at the scene.  The accident is under investigation.

Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly In Illinois

Unemployment rates are down slightly in Illinois.  Data released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows the jobless rate last month dropped point-three percent.  However, officials say the decrease is due to a decline in the labor force

Governor Rauner: Road Amendment On Its Own

Governor Rauner says he's not getting involved with a proposed constitutional amendment that'd put road money in a lock box. The governor told reporters yesterday the plan "is going through its own process." The idea is to require that hundreds of millions of dollars be spent on roads and bridges. But critics say the plan would actually restrict state government by mandating another expense regardless of the state's needs.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rauner Donates 100K To Indiana Gubernatorial Campaign

Gov. Bruce Rauner has tossed in $100,000 of his own money to boost the campaign of Indiana's Republican gubernatorial candidate even as the two states compete to lure jobs.

The money was given to Indiana Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb's campaign.

The $100,000 given is a small fraction of the $16 million that the wealthy former venture capitalist is investing to help the GOP candidates cut into large Democratic majorities in the Illinois Legislature this fall.

Rauner has said he wants to emulate the business-friendly agenda of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels - for whom Holcomb was a top Statehouse aide and campaign manager.

The donation, which the Holcomb campaign disclosed to state election officials on Monday, comes as Holcomb works to close a large fundraising shortfall with the Democratic candidate John Gregg since he was picked by Indiana GOP leaders to replace Mike Pence, who is now Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate.

Information provided by the Springfield State Journal-Register

Historic Building In Normal To Be Demolished?

The fate of a century old historic building is now in the hands of Normal's town council.

The crumbling brick building was once the heart of a campus that cared for thousands of orphans over a span of more than 100 years. But now after decades of neglect and a lack of interested buyers the owner is looking to demolish it.

However, Normal's Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to oppose the demolition. Now it goes to the town council which has 30 days to approve or deny the recommendation.

Members of the commission say they hope the council will take their advice and make it a priority to preserve the deep history of their small town.

The Normal Small Council will meet September 19th to discuss the fate of the building.

Information provided by Central Illinois News Now

Governor Rauner Ties Government Bureaucracy To Police Frustrations

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says police officers across the state could do a much better job if there was less government in their way.  The governor spoke with officers yesterday.  Rauner says if state and local governments could spend less on red tape and bureaucratic hurdles, there'd be more money to spend on law enforcement.

Standard Man Charged With Concealing Death Of Sister-In-Law

A Putnam County man is charged with concealing the death of his sister-in-law after she was found buried in a yard.  Clifford Andersen is being held in jail on 750-thousand-dollars bond.  He was arrested Tuesday night after Deborah Dewey's body was dug up just blocks away from Andersen's home in Standard.  Dewey had been missing since she was last seen August 22nd in Spring Valley.

Bus Troubles Continue for Unit 5

Unit 5 officials continue to blame First Student for ongoing busing problems at Wednesday night's school board meeting. At that same meeting,  representatives from the bus contractor apologized to a lot of angry parents. First Student says it is experiencing a nationwide bus driver shortage.  More  than 10 percent of the drivers have been absent each day. With a lack of substitute drivers, buses are running extra routes to pick up students, resulting in overcrowded and late buses.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

State Supreme Court Won't Rehear Map-Drawing Referendum

The state Supreme Court is rejecting a request to reconsider its decision to keep an Independent Map amendment proposal off the November ballot.  Illinois's high court reaffirmed last month's vote yesterday to keep fall voters from deciding the way political maps are drawn in the state.  The Rauner-backed proposal would have given an independent commission map-drawing power instead of the Legislature.

Normal Man Sentenced For Concealing Death Of Teen

A Normal man is heading behind bars for trying to conceal the death of a teenager who overdosed on heroin.  Braxton Smith was sentenced yesterday to three-years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to conceal the death of Angel Brunson.  The 17-year-old's body was found in April inside a Normal apartment.  Braxton's co-defendant, Cheonte Hinkle, is awaiting trial on similar charges in the case.

Poll: Clinton 51-Percent, Trump 33-Percent in Illinois

Hillary Clinton is closing-in on a 20-point lead over Donald Trump in Illinois. A new poll from Reboot Illinois and We Ask America gives Clinton a 51-33 lead over Trump. But the poll says voters aren't that thrilled about either candidate. Pollsters say 38-percent of people they asked would prefer different candidates in November.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Illinois State Police Probing Bloomington Coliseum's Old Management

State Police investigators are reviewing the books for Bloomington's coliseum.  But no one is saying what they're looking for. Bloomington city leaders confirm the investigation, but say they can't comment because the probe is on-going.  The coliseum's former manager, John Butler, says there was never any wrong doing.  He says there may have been some differences in interpretation of the management agreement during his decade managing the coliseum.