Monday, March 27, 2017

Salamone Memorial

Tina Salamone was the director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts building in Bloomington. She died suddenly of a heart attack on March 25th at the age of 58. A memorial was held at the BCPA Sunday where many of her friends and family showed up to talk about her life's work.

Home Invasion Stabbing

23-year-old Justin R. Roof  faces felony charges after he forced himself into a house and then stabbed a man in the eye. Roof is charged with two counts of home invasion, a Class X felony, as well as residential burglary, a Class 1 felony. He also is charged with two counts of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony.

Downstate Illinois' First Portillo's To Open In May

Downstate Illinois' first Portillo's is about two months away from opening. Developers in Champaign say the restaurant in that city should open sometime in May. Champaign and Normal are both getting the Chicago style hot dog joint. Normal paid a developer two-million dollars to bring it to town, Champaign didn't pay a thing.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Judge Orders Paychecks For Lawmakers

Illinois doesn't have a budget and is drowning in almost 13-billion dollars of unpaid bills, but at least state lawmakers are being paid. A judge yesterday ordered the state to pay lawmakers. Illinois' former Comptroller last year put lawmakers at the back of the line of the state's unpaid bills. Illinois lawmakers have been paid just once since June.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Portillo's Update

The town of Normal issued demolition and building permits Tuesday for 202 Landmark Drive, where a Motel 6 is being torn down and where Portillo's will go up. The demolition is underway at this time but our Portillo's Chicago-style hot dog restaurant is not set to open until August.

Lawmakers Propose Legalizing Recreational Marijuana In Illinois

You could fire up a joint legally if two new bills introduced by two Chicago Democrats gets passed.   The two bills would allow adults over 21 and to possess, grow, and purchase a limited amount of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses growing, processing, testing and selling cannabis to adults, and ant tax it, too, at a rate of $50 per ounce at the whole sale level. You’ll get hit with a 6.25 percent sales tax.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rauner: Replace Prison Tower Guards with Cameras

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to replace guards in watchtowers with closed-circuit cameras at nearly two dozen lower-security Illinois prisons, an effort to cut expenses for a cash-strapped state that has gone two years without a budget. The administration is projecting $4 million in annual savings through reduced overtime-pay and more efficient management strategies. No security guards will be laid off.

Shirley Man Faces 9 Felony Child Porn Charges

A 20-year-old Shirley man faces 9 felony child porn charges in McLean County.  More than 800 images of child pornography allegedly were found by police on Austin Graf's cell phone. Graf is accused of possession and solicitation of child porn.

Obama's Birthday Won't Be a State Holiday...For Now

Former President Obama's birthday won't be designated a holiday in Illinois anytime soon.  A proposal that would close state facilities and schools each year on August 4th was voted down yesterday by Illinois House members.  Opponents raised concerns about the measure including the economic impact of shutting down state buildings on holidays.  Illinois Representative Sonya Harper did use a parliamentary move to keep the proposal alive for another try.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BPD Seeks Information in Weekend Shootings

Bloomington Police are looking for help in solving a weekend shooting. It happened very early Saturday morning at the Econo Lodge. Officers say two people were hurt, neither with life threatening injuries Police say if you know something, please call.

Normal Changing Public Comment Policy--Somewhat

Normal is changing its public comment policy. --Somewhat-- Town leaders last night voted to do away with the 45-day limit. The Illinois Attorney General told the town that violated Illinois’ Open Meetings law. But Normal is still limiting people to talking about only what is on the council agenda.

Clinton Man Killed

An 85 year old Clinton man was killed early Monday morning after being struck by a car near the Casey’s store at the intersection of Illinois 54 and East Washington Street. The man is identified as WIlliam Towns of Clinton.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New U Of I Coach: We Will Win

The new men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois is promising victories. Brad Underwood told fans over the weekend that "we will win." Underwood comes to the U of I from Oklahoma State University, but spent a decade in the state as coach at Western Illinois University. Reports say Underwood has a six-year contract worth three-million dollars a year.

Illinois' Unpaid Bills Hit Milestone

Illinois' total of unpaid bill is enough to saddle every man, woman, and child in the state with a thousand dollars of debt. The state's comptroller on Friday said Illinois' backlog of unpaid bills hit 12-point-eight billion dollars. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says Illinois is in the middle of a "historic financial meltdown" that's only expected to get worse.

Michigan Police Catch Sexually Violent Central Illinois Fugitive

The manhunt in over for a sexually violent fugitive from central Illinois. Deputies in Wakefield, Michigan say they arrested David Hermosillo over the weekend. Hermasillo slipped his ankle bracelet in Bloomington-Normal earlier this month and was on the run. Prosecutors in central Illinois say they want Hermasillo back in a local courtroom, but don't know when it'll happen.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ordinance Presented to Protect Illegal Immigrants Locally

An ordinance that would prohibit local police from working with federal immigration officers was formally presented Thursday by advocates who believe immigrants face a greater chance of deportation under the Trump administration. The ordinance is being pushed by Illinois People's Action.

A.G.: Normal Needs to Adopt New Town Comment Policy

The Illinois Attorney General is the latest to tell the town of Normal to allow people to speak at town meetings more often The AG ruled the town's comment policy, which limits people to just one chance to speak every 45 days, violates Illinois' open meeting rules. The Attorney General says Normal needs to adopt a new policy.

POLL: No to Soda Tax

Whether you call it soda or pop, a new poll says most people in Illinois don't want it taxed. The poll, released yesterday, asked voters about a proposal to tax sugary drinks. The survey says 62-percent of voters in Illinois oppose the idea, just 34-percent support it. Some lawmakers want to add a penny-per-ounce tax as a way to bring-in money and decrease obesity.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bloomington Mayoral Debate Recap

The two candidates for mayor in Bloomington agree that the city needs more jobs, better roads, and to somewhat cooperate with Normal.

They disagree on how to do that. Mayor Tari Renner and Alderman Kevin Lower met for another debate last night, hosted by Cities 929.

The biggest disagreements are on the role of economic incentives and how much the city has to pay to lure businesses to town.

And there’s always a disagreement between the two over ‘quality of life’ projects.
Voters will make their choice April 4th.

POLL: Not Good for Rauner. Worse for Madigan

Voters in Illinois don’t really like either Governor Bruce Rauner or House Speaker Mike Madigan. But a new poll says they dislike Madigan a little bit more. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute report, released yesterday, shows 58-percent of voters disapprove of Governor Rauner’s performance. While 61-percent say they disapprove of Madigan.

Motor Voter Bill Approved by State Senate Panel

Lawmakers in Springfield are working on a new plan to update your voter registration when you renew your drivers license. An Illinois Senate panel yesterday approved an automatic voter registration plan. Governor Rauner vetoed a similar idea last

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CIRA: Soccer Teams Need to Find New Venue...Soon

Soccer players in Bloomington-Normal need to figure out a new place to play. Soon. That's the word from airport managers who say continuing the lease of field near the Central Illinois Regional Airport isn't a long term solution. A meeting yesterday went over the situation again. Normal City Manager Mark Peterson says supporters need to find more time. No one is guessing if voters in the twin cities will tolerate a 16-million dollar soccer complex.

Merchant's Group Opposes Bill That Would Raise Threshold for Felony Theft

The group that represents Illinois' shopkeepers says its worried about the message lawmakers may be sending to shoplifters. The Illinois Retail Merchants' Association yesterday told lawmakers that its a bad idea to raise the threshold for felony theft to a thousand dollars or more. Right now its at 300-dollars. The Merchants' Rob Karr says thieves will steal up to the threshold, and will only steal more if that threshold is higher.

2018 Gov's Race Could Feature Two BIllionaires

Illinois' next governor's race could be a choice between two billionaires. Democrat JB Pritzker yesterday announced an exploratory committee for a run next year. Pritzker is seen as someone who can counter Governor Rauner's personal fortune with his own. Pritzker is the latest Democrat to move toward a showdown next year. The Democratic primary will be in March of next year

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

City Mgr Hales Passses on New Gig in Wisc.

He says, "Thanks, but no thanks"....Bloomington City Manager David Hales is withdrawing from consideration as one of three finalists to replace the retiring city administrator in Racine, Wis.
The twin cities will lose its Gordmans. But no one knows when. Gordmans yesterday confirmed they'll have to close all 110 of their stores as part of their bankruptcy. No word when the store in Normal will close.

Bike-Share Program Starts Next Week

A new bike-sharing program is set to launch in the Twin Cities next week. Bike Share 309  allows residents and visitors rent bikes at nine locations scattered across Bloomington and Normal with their smart phone. Fees are $3 hourly, or $40 a year for an annual membership that includes at free 1-hour bike ride with each use.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory Until 7pm

Light snow will continue through the morning before mixing with rain south of I-74 this afternoon. Storm total snowfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected along a Canton to Minonk line...and 3 to 5 inches along a Galesburg to Lacon line. Expect slick and slushy roads for the morning commute. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and plan on extra time to arrive at their destinations.

Possible New State Taxes

You may soon pay sales taxes on cable TV and streaming, tattoos, and your next oil change. Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan to expand the base of the state's sales tax. Right now the state doesn't tax many services, lawmakers this week could vote to change that. But there's plenty of opposition in Springfield. Critics say some of the new taxes will hurt the people least able to pay.

Illini & Redbirds in NIT

It's the NIT, not the NCAA Tournament for ISU--The Redbrids yesterday didn't get an invitation to the Big Dance But ISU will get at least one more game. The Birds host UC Irvine Wednesday at home. The U of I is also in the NIT.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Illini: Groce is Gone

 Illinois is looking for a new men's basketball coach after announcing Saturday it had fired John Groce after five seasons. Under Groce, the Fighting Illini went 95-75 and made its lone NCAA tournament appearance in 2013, his first season after replacing Bruce Weber.

Winter Weather Advisory for Snow

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a
Winter Weather Advisory for Snow, which is in effect from 10 PM this
evening to 7 PM CDT Monday.

* TIMING...Snow will develop west of the Illinois River by late
  evening...then will spread eastward across the Advisory area
  overnight. The snow will be heaviest late tonight into Monday
  morning. Snowfall amounts of 3 to 4 inches are expected along a
  Canton to Bloomington line...with 5 to 6 inches possible further
  north from Galesburg to Lacon.

* MAIN IMPACT...Expect snow-covered and slick roads for the Monday
  morning commute. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and plan
  on extra time to arrive at their destinations Monday morning.

Friday, March 10, 2017

BPD Looking For a Sexually Violent Person

Bloomington police are looking for 50-year-old David Hermisillo who is listed as a sexually violent person and whose ankle tracking device was cut off, and they are warning the public to consider him armed and dangerous. Hermosillo is described as Hispanic, 6' 1" , 225 pounds, bald and having brown eyes. Hermosillo's tattoos include a rose on his left hand; a heart, panther, skull and rose on his left arm; a Tasmanian devil on his chest; and a hat with a crown above it on his back.

State Farm Layoffs

The twin cities' largest employer is announcing layoffs. In a state-mandated letter to the City of Bloomington on February 22nd, State Farm warned of a future layoff. Originally, 54 employees from Corporate South stood to lose their jobs in April. As of today, that number is down to 35. State Farm says it's working with the affected employees to find other positions within the company. Despite the layoff announcement, State Farm remains committed to Bloomington.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chateau Could Reopen in About 10 Days

The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center could re-open in a week to 10 days after fixing an alarm system.  Reports indicate that system stopped working sometime in early November. The hotel was closed Wednesday by the city after a contractor notified them that the fire alarm system was not operating. The hotel's ownership still owes the city about $100,000 in back taxes with full repayment scheduled for this spring.

Rauner Sees Dem Conspiracy

Governor Rauner is accusing top state Democrats of plotting against him to force a government shutdown.  Comptroller Susana Mendoza has gotten a judge's okay to dip into the same fund Governor Rauner's been using to keep government operating in the absence of a budget.  Rauner says Mendoza is trying to deplete that fund, and he accused her, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and House Speaker Michael Madigan of a political conspiracy to pave the way for an income tax increase.  He says the three are trying to create a crisis and force a shutdown.  A spokesman for Speaker Madigan called Rauner's comments "delusional babble."

LaHood Talks Health Care Bill

Congressman Darin LaHood says he's not there yet on the Republican plan to move past Obamacare. LaHood told Cities 929 yesterday that he's skeptical of the plan. LaHood says voters clearly want 'repeal and replace' and they want a plan to lower the cost of health care. The plan in Congress doesn't deliver. LaHood says he wants to see how the Republican plan's approach to Medicaid and government subsidies play out. LaHood says states like Illinois that expanded Medicaid are likely in for some tough medicine. Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says he's skeptical of the plan to move past Obamacare. LaHood yesterday told Cities 92-point-9 that he's got questions about the plan. Chief among them, how will the proposal deal with the crushing costs the Obamacare ushered into the healthcare system.

CAT Raid Update

A government report says Caterpillar didn't mistakenly send billion of dollars through a foreign subsidiary. The report says Cat committed fraud. "The New York Times" yesterday published a piece of a report that looks at how Cat used a Swiss subsidiary to bring nearly eight-billion dollars in profits back into the country. The federal government has long said Cat owes over two-billion in unpaid taxes for foreign business. The report comes after federal agents raided Caterpillar headquarters last week.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gov. Rauner at Rivian Automotive Ribbon Cutting

Governor Rauner says Rivian could one day be worth thousands of jobs in the Twin Cities. The governor stopped by the old Mitsubishi plant yesterday to help cut the ribbon. The governor said Illinois offered Edge Credits to the company worth roughly $49.5 million for the creation of 1,000 jobs over 10 years.  Normal and other local governments have promised millions in tax breaks to Rivian. The company has yet to build a car and says it may be years before people see anything moving on the assembly line.

Rauner Has Concerns About New Health Care Plan

Illinois' governor says he worries the state 'won't do well' under the latest plan to change Obamacare. Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday at Rivian Automotivi in Normal said the state may lose out if Congress switches to a block-grant program for Medicaid. Nearly three million people, one in four in the state, are enrolled in Medicaid. A block grant may force Illinois to trim back the number of people on its healthcare rolls or charge them for services.

Winter Could Return This Weekend

Winter weather could return this weekend in Illinois.  The National Weather Service says snow is likely throughout a large portion of the state Saturday.  Temps will be dropping into the low 30s.  There is also a chance of snow Sunday night.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Director of the BCPA Dies

Tina Salamone, director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts for the past 3½ years, has died. Salamone passed away suddenly at her Bloomington residence on Sunday, according to Jay Tetzloff, director of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.
No other details were available Monday.

The Metro Zone is 'On Hold.'

The town of Normal insists the Metro Zone isn't finished. Town leaders last night said Bloomington cannot end the west side tax sharing agreement on its own. So the deal is not finished. Normal says it hopes to talk with Bloomington about how to move forward. Mayor Chris Koos says a lawsuit is the last thing on their mind.

Storms Assessment

It's going to take a few hours to get a sense of just how much damage last night's storms brought to central Illinois. A strong line of storms cut across the middle part of the state. At one point after midnight, forecasters issued a tornado warning for parts of Tazewell and Woodford counties. The national Weather Service says it'll know more later today. This is, by the way, severe weather preparedness week.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Former Mayor of Normal to Weigh In on Metro Zone Issue

Get ready to hear more about the Metro Zone. Normal's town council is set to talk about their options at tonight's council meeting. They're also bringing-in former Mayor Paul Harmon to talk about the original plan to share west side taxes. The council may also get a briefing on how town managers plan to make-up for the million or so dollars Normal was receiving from the Metro Zone.

Forecasters: More Tornadoes Than First Thought Last Week

Forecasters say more tornadoes hit north-central Illinois than first thought. The National Weather Service over the weekend updated last week's storm report. The Weather Service says four EF-3 tornadoes touched down, three in LaSalle County and one in Woodford County. Forecasters also say three other, weaker tornadoes touched down Tuesday. Two people died in the storms.

Proposed Gambling Expansion

Illinois lawmakers are once again looking at more casinos as a way to save the state budget. Gambling expansion supporters started talking about a plan to add six new casinos in Illinois after the so-called 'grand bargain' fell apart last week. The new casinos would go to Chicago, Rockford, and Danville. As well as somewhere in Lake County, the northern suburbs, the south suburbs, and in Williamson County in southern Illinois.

Friday, March 3, 2017

VIDEO: Could The Metro Zone Issue Go To Court?

The fight over the end of the Metro Zone may be headed to court. It may have always been headed to court.  Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner yesterday said Normal threatened to sue to keep the Metro Zone in place back in 2014. Renner says the city of Bloomington isn't an untrustworthy partner. The Metro Zone is just a deal that's outlived its purpose. The mayor says he hopes Bloomington and Normal can still work together on things like public safety and Connect Transit.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

WEEK TV: Feds Raid Caterpillar Facilities

Law enforcement are searching Peoria-area Caterpillar facilities seeking any documents related to the company's business in Switzerland, 25 News has exclusively learned.

WEEK-25 News obtained the search warrant that allows law enforcement to search Caterpillar's headquarters building in downtown Peoria, the Morton logistics center, and Caterpillar Building AD in East Peoria.

The warrant signed by Judge Harold J. Baker out of the Central District of Illinois in Urbana authorize law enforcement to seize any documents related to the movement of Caterpillar products between the U.S. and Switzerland, any documents related to sales outside the U.S., and a variety of documents related to Cat's Swiss subsidi
ary, CSARL.