Monday, April 30, 2018

AFSCME Endorses Pritzker In Race For Illinois Governor

Illinois' largest public sector union is finally taking sides in the race for governor.  AFSCME on Friday announced that it is endorsing Democrat J.B. Pritzker in November.  AFSCME's announcement is not a surprise.  The union has battled for years with Pritzker's opponent, Governor Bruce Rauner.  The union says Governor Rauner has harmed the state.  It says its endorsement of Pritzker was unanimous.

Patti Blagojevich Looks To Be Courting Trump for Action

The only hope for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to get out of prison looks to be President Trump.  And his wife looks to be working that chance. "The Chicago Sun-Times" reported yesterday that Patti Blagojevich is trying to tie James Comey's investigation of the president to the investigation that sent her husband to prison for 14 years.  The paper quotes Mrs. Blagojevich as saying that the same "cast of characters" that investigated her family is out there trying to do the same to the president.

Friend Test-Drives Buddy's Brand New Car Into Quad Cities River

Moline Police are blaming too much horsepower for a test drive that left a brand-new Camaro in the Rock River last week.  Police say a local man let his friend drive his car.  The friend then drove the car into the river.  The two men are safe, but police say the car is totaled.  Police are not saying if the two are still friends.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Shooting Suspect in Double Homicide Named and Charged

Christopher Harrison, 17, of Bloomington is charged as an adult with six counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Joseph Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19, both of Bloomington, at a Lancaster Heights apartment at 1444 E. College Ave.

Harrison also faces eights counts related to stolen or illegally possessed guns and two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver the drug.

His bond is set at $2.5 million.

States Attorney Jason Chambers said Joseph Gardener was shot 13 times, including nine rounds to the back of his head and back and Reginald Hart Jr, suffered eight gunshot wounds to his head, neck, back and legs.

U Of I Wants Public Input On Chief Conversation

The University of Illinois is looking for more opinions about Chief Illiniwek.  The school is looking to continue its critical conversation about The Chief on Tuesday.  School leaders say they want to hear from the public.  The meeting is set for one day after students and faculty members are supposed to vote on a ban on The Chief for football and basketball games next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

NPD/Cornoner: Victim's ID'd in Wednesday's Double Homicide

A 17-year-old male from Normal was arrested in connection with a double homicide late Wednesday at an apartment complex. His name is not being rel;eased due to his juvenile status. Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said the shooting was an isolated incident--may have been drug-related, and no further suspects are currently sought. The shooting took place in the 1400 block of E. College Ave.  McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis said 20-year-old Joseph Gardner and 19-year-old Reginald F. Hart, Jr. both died of multiple gunshot wounds in the incident. Both men were from Bloomington. McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers is reviewing the case.

Double Homicide in Normal

Two males are dead after an overnight shooting in Normal. Police tell us it happened just before 10pm in the 1400 block of East College Avenue. Normal Police Chief Bleichner says a third individual was in custody in relation to the incident, but arrests have not been made. Bleichner said multiple weapons were also found at the scene but isn't specify what they are at this time.

BPD Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

This Saturday, April 28th, the Bloomington Police Department is participating in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Unused or expired prescription medication are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. BPD will be providing a drug drop box in our front lobby from 10 am to 2 pm.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Accused Waffle House Shooter's Father May Not Have Committed Crime

Prosecutors in central Illinois say the father of the man accused of killing four people at a Tennessee Waffle House may not have broken the law.  Tazewell County State's Attorney Stu Umholtz yesterday said that if Jeff Reinking sent his son Travis the rifle used in the shooting, that could qualify as a gift.  Umholtz said Illinois law would make it a crime for Travis Reinking to posses the rifle in Illinois, but Umholtz said it wouldn't be against the law for Jeff Reinking to give his son the rifle while Travis was living in Tennessee.  But Umholtz added it's too early to say if any laws were broken in the case.

Tazewell County Sheriff: We Didn't Have Waffle House Shooter's Guns

The sheriff in Tazewell County is making it clear: His office never had the gun that police say was used in the Waffle House shooting. Sheriff Robert Huston 's office released a statement yesterday that said they never had physical custody of the weapons that the Illinois State Police took from Travis Reinking last summer. The statement says the weapons were given to Reinking's father. Police in Tennessee say Reinking used one of those weapons, an AR-15 style rifle, to shoot and kill four people in a suburban Nashville Waffle House early Sunday morning.

Illinois Gets Massive Gift To Fight Synthetic Pot Bleeding

Illinois is getting another tool to fight the dangerous side effects of synthetic marijuana.  The Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday announced a gift of 800-thousand vitamin K tablets.  The pills will help people who suffered from severe bleeding from the eyes, ears, and lungs restore their ability to clot blood.  The IDPH says over 150 people have been treated for severe bleeding since mid-March.  Three people have died from bleeding after using synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Illinois Man Wanted In Connection To Deadly Tennessee Shooting

Police in Tennessee are looking for a west-central Illinois man who they say walked into a Nashville Waffle House and killed four people. Nashville Metro Police say 29-year-old Travis Reinking's car was left behind. Reinking is from Morton, Illinois. Investigators say he's suspected of killing four people and wounding two others about 3:30 in the morning yesterday. 

McLean County Getting New Solar Farm

Central Illinois' next solar farm is going in just south of Bloomington. California-based Cypress Creek Renewables announced last week that they will build a two-megawatt farm on 25 acres of land where I-74 crosses Highway 51. The project should cost about four million-dollars. Cypress Creek says they will build the farm this year, but they're not saying exactly when. 

Illinois Among States With Case Of Lettuce Sickness

Illinois is on the list of states with someone who got sick after eating tainted lettuce. The Centers for Disease Control on Friday issued a warning that no one should eat Romaine lettuce after an outbreak of sicknesses across the country. The CDC says unless you are absolutely sure that your lettuce is not from Arizona, you should probably throw it away. The state's Department of Public Health isn't offering much information about the single case in Illinois. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bloomington Leaders Detail Alleged Fraud From Former Coliseum Managers

City leaders in Bloomington are painting a picture of off-book companies and short changed receipts at the city-owned coliseum. The city yesterday responded to a lawsuit from the former managers of what is now the Grossinger Motors Arena. The managers are suing the city for breach of contract. Bloomington's response says the leaders at Central Illinois Arena Management schemed for years to pay the city less than what the arena owed for food and drinks. Four former managers are facing criminal charges for their roles in the scheme.

ISU Is Still Top University in the State

Enrollment in colleges statewide have been at a steady decline as of late. However, one school has been able to maintain consistency throughout the drops. For the past three years Illinois State University has experienced record numbers in freshmen enrollment, placing them in the top three for overall statewide enrollment.

Sam McCann Announces Third Party Bid For Governor

There's another candidate in the race for Illinois governor.  West central Illinois state Senator Sam McCann yesterday announced that he is running for governor in the Conservative Party.  But Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady yesterday said McCann isn't a true conservative.  Other politicos at the statehouse say McCann is looking to run not to win, but to siphon votes from Governor Rauner in this fall's race against J.B. Pritzker.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Police Promise Patrols After Threat At Normal West High School

Classes are on as scheduled at Normal West High School, despite a threat that talked about a shooting. Normal Police yesterday said they plan to step-up patrols at the school today. Normal West Principal Dave Johnson said they found the anonymous threat Tuesday written on the bathroom wall. Johnson said they don't think the threat is credible.

No State Ban On Illinois Youth Tackle Football This Spring

Youth league football coaches across Illinois can breathe a bit easier. The author of a plan to ban tackle football for anyone under 12-years-old in the state says she doesn't have enough support to pass a ban this spring. State Rep Carol Sente yesterday said there's just too much opposition. Sente said parents need to learn the link between tackle football and brain trauma. But Sente isn't ruling out bringing the plan back for a second try this fall.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mall Owner Preps For Bergner's Closing In Bloomington, Decatur

Shoppers in Bloomington and Decatur could soon have one less choice.  CBL Properties, which owns the malls in Bloomington and in Forsyth, which is just outside of Decatur, yesterday said it is planning for the Bergner's stores at each to close.  Bergner's parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, is in the middle of a bankruptcy case.  Bergner's is just the latest store to close at the mall in Bloomington.  The Eastland Mall also lost its Macy's and JC Penny store last year.

Ford County Terror Suspects To Face Trial In Illinois First

Three central Illinois terror suspects will likely face a weapons trial in Illinois before heading to Minnesota to face bombing charges.  Federal prosecutors in Urbana yesterday asked for a 60-day delay in the case in Minnesota against Michael Hari, Joe Morris, and Michael McWhorter.  They are charged with planting a bomb at a mosque last summer.  The three, along with Ellis Mack, are charged with felony possession of a machine gun in Illinois.  Prosecutors want to take that case to trial first.

Illinois Senate Panel Okays Local Assault Weapons Bans

Illinois cities are a step closer to being able to control who owns which guns inside their borders.  An Illinois Senate panel yesterday approved a plan to give local governments the power to adopt local assault weapons bans.  The idea is to pre-empt statewide control that took effect with Illinois' 2013 concealed carry law. Gun control supporters say they want local governments to be able to decide for themselves.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Allegiant Defends Service After "60 Minutes" Report

One of the few airlines to serve most of Illinois' airports outside of Chicago is defending its reputation after a scathing report on its safety. Allegiant Airlines yesterday called Sunday's piece on "60 Minutes" 'one sided.' The report cited federal reports that showed Allegiant had more than 100 serious mechanical issues in 2016 and 2017. Allegiant flies to the Quad Cities, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, and the Metro East. An airline official yesterday said that they are proud of their dedication to safety.

Dewitt County 17-Year-Old To Face Adult Charges In Shooting

Prosecutors in DeWitt County are pushing ahead with adult charges against a 17-year-old who police say shot another teen in the stomach.  Seventeen-year-old Michael Cummins is still being held in the jail in Clinton on 50-thousand-dollars bond.  Police in Farmer City are still not saying why they think Cummins shot another teen in the stomach last week.  The victim is expected to live.

Possible Changes to Jefferson St. in Bloomington

Improvements are expected on Jefferson St. in the upcoming months. Jefferson was rated a 3 by city officials, meaning it is in need of repairs very soon to continue functioning as a usable street. Bloomington Committee of the Whole met today to discuss the possibility of the changes to the street and the downtown area. The most controversial option discussed was the shared street model where the bike lane, road and sidewalk are all one level. Estimates that were shown in the meeting for the model, would cost nearly a million dollars to implement. Most of the council members were displeased with the idea. The official future of the street will determined on April 23rd after a council vote.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sexual Assault Near ISU Campus

lllinois State University police are warning of possible dangerous conditions on or near campus after a sexual assault was reported Friday afternoon. The victim was in a residence in the 200 block of W. Willow when the sexual assault happened. The victim said the suspect wasn't known to them. The Normal Police Department is continuing to investigate the incident.

Senator Durbin Has Concerns About Trump's Syria Strikes

Illinois' senior U.S. Senator says he's glad to see the U.S. strike at Syria's chemical weapons, but he's worried about how it happened. Senator Dick Durbin told reporters in Springfield yesterday that he is bothered that President Trump took to Twitter to essentially announce that the strikes would take place. Durbin says the warning gave Russia and Syria time to prepare, and that could have cost U.S. lives. Durbin also says he wants the president to get Congressional approval before launching any other strikes.

Patti Blagojevich Angry With Rauner Snapchat Filter Of Jailed Husband

A former Illinois first lady is furious with the state's governor over a Snapchat filter. Patti Blagojevich last week demanded that Governor Rauner's campaign take down a Snapchat filter than allows people to add former Governor Rod Blagojvich's hair and inmate number to their photos. The filter also takes a shot at Democrat J.B. Pritzker for his conversations with the jailed former governor. Patti Blagojevich says the filter is insulting and hurtful for her teenaged daughters.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Illinois Statehouse Democrats Not Optimistic After Governor's Meeting

Don't expect a lot of cooperation between statehouse Democrats and Governor Bruce Rauner on a budget this spring. Both House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton yesterday said that they have some requests of the governor this year. Madigan doesn't want the governor to cut any more state programs. Cullerton said he wants the governor to sign a series of gun control proposals before he'll agree to terms on a state budget.

Million-Dollar Bond For Peoria Murder Suspect

One of the suspects in Peoria's violent weekend is in jail on a million-dollars bond.  A judge yesterday ordered that 16-year-old Jermontay Brock be kept in jail on a seven-figure bond for the murder of 22-year-old Anthony Polnitz early Saturday morning near the Bradley University campus.  Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion yesterday said Brock pulled out a handgun and shot Polnitz at a party, though the chief wouldn't say why.  Polnitz was one of three people killed in Peoria last weekend.

Illinois Senate: Say No To Illinois Guardsmen On Mexican Border

The Illinois Senate is officially on the record opposing the use of Illinois National Guard troops to patrol the nation's southern border.  The Senate yesterday narrowly approved a resolution urging Governor Rauner not to comply with a request from President Trump to send troops to the border with Mexico.  There hasn't been a request, but the governor said earlier this week that he'd send troops if the president asked for some

Thursday, April 12, 2018

One Teen Injured, Another Teen Arrested in Farmer City Shooting

A dispute between two teenagers in Farmer City led to one juvenile shooting the other. The shooting happened just before 3 p.m. in the 300 block of W. Green on Wednesday. The 17-year-old suspect was arrested, while the 17-year-old victim is currently being treated at an Urbana hospital. Police are investigating the incident.

Investigators: Diamond Bradley Murder Weapon Possibly Found

Investigators in Putnam County think they've found the weapon used to kill a 16-year-old from Spring Valley. The Putnam County Sheriff's office yesterday said that they found the weapon they think was used to kill 16-year-old Diamond Bradley during a search of where suspect Richard Henderson works. No one is saying what they found. Deputies say they found Bradley dead in a ditch at the end of January. Investigators say they think she met Henderson online, and that he later killed her.

Students, Parents Protest Firing of Teacher Marc Tiritilli

Students and parents in Bloomington are calling out the district's school board and administrators. Many are expressing frustration after the school fired physics teacher, Marc Tirtilli. Some students planned a walk-out recently, hoping to advocate for their beloved teacher, but were told any student who participated would be punished. At District 87's board meeting Wednesday night, a couple students spoke up about their outrage saying they are disappointed and hope the board does something about it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

State Farm Building Has Potential Buyers Already

Ever since State Farm announced Monday that it plans to sell its 89-year-old  original headquarters building in downtown  Bloomington,  the company has received interest from potential buyers. State Farm spokesman Jim Camoriano will only say 'there has been interest from a few parties.' The exact number of interested parties nor an asking sale price has been disclosed. The building has a market value of just under $9 million.

Illinois Comptroller Sends 350-Million-Dollars In School Payments

Illinois schools are finally getting paid under the state's new funding formula.  Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza yesterday said her office sent 350-million-dollars to hundreds of schools across the state.  This is the first time schools are being paid under a new measurement checklist.  Some schools are getting more under the new formula, but no school will get less.

Tazewell County Leads Illinois' Synthetic Pot Cases

More people have gotten sick from synthetic marijuana in and around East Peoria, Illinois than in the city of Chicago. The Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday updated its count of people who've been treated for severe bleeding after using the fake pot. The IDPH says 37 people from Tazewell County have been treated, while just 30 people from Chicago have been to the doctor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

State Farm Selling Iconic Former Bloomington Headquarters

State Farm is selling its old headquarters in downtown Bloomington, but the company isn't saying who's buying the building.  State Farm yesterday said it is selling the 89-year-old building in downtown Bloomington.  City leaders say they're waiting to find out about the new buyer as well.  Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says he hopes the new owner will invest in the building and in the city's downtown.

One Bloomington Alderman Goes on the Record Regarding "Welcoming City" Ordinance

Bloomington Alderman Karen Schmidt is going on the record saying she cannot support a Welcoming City ordinance at this time because it places too many restrictions on legitimate police exchanges with the federal government. Schmidt says there are Class X felonies, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, which would not be permissible items to talk to the feds about saying she believes those are legitimate reasons for police to have conversations with other law enforcement agencies. Schmidt is going public with her opposition now because some people in the community are distorting the positions of aldermen with character attacks.

Bloomington Votes to "Play Ball" with Normal on Sports Complex Study

Bloomington will help Normal pay for a consultant to study the feasibility and economic impact of a multi-sports complex. The city council vote was 5-4 to spend $17,625, which is what Normal will pay Sports Facilities Advisory of Clearwater, Florida. The McLean County Board is not helping out financially with the study, but the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is contributing $11,750.

Monday, April 9, 2018

GCMS Teen Killed, Brother Injured in Crash

A junior at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School was killed and his brother injured in a two-vehicle crash Saturday morning in Ford County. The sheriff's department said the crash was reported Saturday morning at the intersection of Route 47 and Ford County Road 900 North, about five miles north of Garber. Dylan Bennigfield was a wrestler and also on the schools 2A state championship football team.

Illinois Lawmakers Return To Capitol This Week

The push toward a state budget begins in Springfield this week. Illinois lawmakers are due back at the Capitol today to finish their work for the spring session. In addition to gun control and talk of property tax freezes, lawmakers will have to decide on a state budget. But it remains to be seen what that budget will look like.

Three Dead After Violent Weekend In Peoria

Peoria Police are looking for answers after a violent weekend in that city. Police say three people, including a Bradley University student, died in shootings late Saturday night and early yesterday morning. Investigators say it appears that 18-year-old Nasjay Murry was at a party near campus when shots rang out. She was hit and died, another Bradley student was wounded but was taken to a local hospital.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bloomington Police Ask Neighbors For Help Finding Shooting Suspect

Investigators in Bloomington are asking for help in finding their suspects in a Wednesday night shooting. BPD officers say two men were seen with guns and yelling, then neighbors heard shooting.  The victim was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Police are asking people to reach out to McLean County Crime Stoppers if they have any information in the case.

Illinois Schools To Get Paid Under New Funding Formula

Checks for Illinois schools will soon be on their way.  The Illinois State Board of Education yesterday said it sent the order to the state's comptroller to pay schools.  The new checks will be the first under Illinois' new education funding formula.  Many schools will get more money and none will get less.  The first payments are due to be sent out next Tuesday.

IDPH: 89 People Treated For Synthetic Pot Bleeding

The list of people bleeding from the eyes and nose after smoking synthetic marijuana is up to 89.  The Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday released its latest count of people who've been treated for severe bleeding after using the fake pot.  There are still just two reported deaths.  Most of the cases continue to be in and around Chicago or in and around Peoria.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

State Farm To Discuss Future Of Its Former Bloomington Headquarters

City planners in Bloomington should know more next week about one of their downtown's biggest empty buildings.  State Farm officials yesterday said they will meet with city leaders in Bloomington on Monday to talk about the future of their former downtown headquarters.  State Farm moved the last of its workers out of the building in January, saying it's not conducive to future workplace needs.

Two Bloomington Roads to be Repaved

Two roads will receive more than $1M in emergency resurfacing
starting Monday. IDOT will resurface Center Street (US 51 Business) from Division to Locust and Clinton Street (US 150) from Empire to North of Oakland.  Rowe Construction is the low bidder and will perform the patching, milling and resurfacing project according to and IDOT release. The project is expected to be completed by the end of May, weather permitting.

Shooting in Bloomington

A man was shot in the leg in a gunfire incident late Wednesday night in the 2100 block of Rainbow Avenue in Bloomington. Police found a revolver on the ground at the scene. The victim's name and no other information has been released at this time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

J.B. Pritzker: Raise Illinois Income Tax, Wait For Graduated Tax

The Democrat running for governor in Illinois says he wants to raise taxes, but he doesn't know how high he wants to take them.  Candidate J.B. Pritzker yesterday said he wants to temporarily raise Illinois' four-point-nine-five-percent income tax as lawmakers wait to approve a progressive income tax.  Pritzker said he'd like to see some new deductions to lower the impact of the tax increase.  But he's not saying how high taxes could go.  Pritzker said he'd have to negotiate that with lawmakers in Springfield.

Illinois Synthetic Pot Bleeding Count Hits 70

More people continue to bleed from their eyes, ears, and lungs after smoking synthetic marijuana in Illinois. The state's Department of Public Health yesterday said the latest count of people who've been treated for severe side effects of the fake pot is up to 70. There have been no new, reported deaths. The IDPH says nine of the 70 people treated for synthetic marijuana use have tested positive for a chemical that's found in rat poison.