Friday, June 22, 2018

Charges For Central Illinois Men In Minnesota Mosque Bombing

Federal prosecutors in Minnesota are charging three central Illinois men with hate crimes for their roles in a mosque bombing last year. The indictments against Michael Hari, Michael McWhorter, Joe Morris are just the latest charges against the three. Prosecutors in Illinois are also pushing a weapons case against them. The Minnesota charges cover last August's bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota that damaged the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center.

Illinois Jobs Report

Most of Illinois' downstate cities added jobs from May of last year, but none added more jobs than the Quad Cities.  The latest numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security came out yesterday and say that jobs are up and unemployment is down in most communities in the state.  Chicago and the suburbs are home to most of Illinois' new jobs since last May, but the Quad Cities, Rockford, Bloomington-Normal, and Peoria also added jobs.  Springfield, Danville, and Marion-Carbondale all lost jobs over the past year.

Gov. Rauner Visits ISU, Signs Bill Extending Normal's TIF District

Governor Rauner toured Illinois State University's College of Fine Arts today after granting money toward the program. The College received 62 million dollars for what Rauner says will improve the quality of education and create a better experience for the students. While in town, Rauner also signed House Bill 1910 which will extends the TIF district in Normal for another 12 years saying, "This will help accelerate the economic growth in the city."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Clinton City Leaders Worry About Losing Local Walmart

The city of Clinton is worried about its economic future without its Walmart store.  Walmart announced yesterday that it plans to close the store in Clinton next month.  Clinton Finance Commissioner Tom Edmunds says he's worried about the loss of about 70 jobs and all of the sales tax money that the store generated for the community.

Road Improvements Coming to Bloomington-Normal

Roads in Bloomington will be improving within the next year. The Illinois Department of Transportation announced a new multi-year plan to resurface roads in the twin cities.The project will begin at the intersection of Empire Street and Veterans Parkway and will continue south of Veterans until Commerce Parkway. By 2020 IDOT plans to expand reconstruction to local roads. 

Illinois Confirms First Human West Nile Case

Illinois is confirming its first human case of West Nile. The Illinois Department of Public health yesterday said that a Chicago woman in her 60s first got sick in mid-May. That's early. IDPH says last year's first human case wasn't confirmed until July 20th. In 2017, Illinois saw at least 90 people get sick from West Nile, and eight people died from the disease.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bloomington Authorities ID Murder Victims, Still No Motive

Investigators in Bloomington say they know the names of the victims of Monday's triple murder, but they are not talking about a motive.  McLean County's coroner yesterday said that 22-year-old Corey Jackson, 22-year-old Nathaniel Pena, and 33-year-old Juan Perez-Macedo all died in the shooting.  A fourth victim, a four-year-old boy, is recovering from his wounds.  Bloomington Police are still not saying what set off the shooting, or if they have any suspects in the case.

Governor Rauner Says President Needs New Family Policy At Border

Add Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to the list of Republicans who disagree with President Trump's zero tolerance policy at the nation's southern border.  The governor told reporters in Chicago yesterday that he thinks the policy of separating children from their families who come to the United States without documentation, is a bad policy.  Rauner said the country has to secure its border, but he says the idea of separating families is the wrong way to do it

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CIRA Announces New Routes

You will be able to fly to Denver or Orlando from Bloomington starting September 24.  Central Illinois Regional Airport announced the return of Frontier Airlines and the new destinations Tuesday.  The new flights to Denver will depart at 5:21 p.m. Monday and Friday, arriving at 6:45 p.m. at Denver International Airport; and departing at 1:21 p.m., arriving at 4:31 p.m. on those two days. Flights to Orlando will leave CIRA at 10 a.m., arriving at 1:30 p.m. at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; and another flight departing at 4:25 p.m., arriving at 5:50 p.m. on those three day

Trucker Charged in Accident that Killed a Chenoa Woman

A semi driver has been charged with several violations in connection with an accident on I-55 that killed a Chenoa woman Friday night. The trucker was issued tickets for violation of minimum speed regulations, passing a vehicle on the shoulder of the road and driving with unsafe tires. The ISP report states that a 17-year-old female was a passenger in the truck. She was taken to a local hospital, but the report does not indicate her condition. 25-year old Kaitlyn Erdman's car hit the rear of the semi-trailer when the trucker engaged in unsafe maneuvers and Erdman's car became lodged underneath the rear of the trailer. She died at the scene.

3 Dead, 1 Injured in Shooting Incident on Riley Drive

Three men are dead and a 4-year-old boy is critically wounded after a shooting at 311 Riley Drive in Bloomington Monday afternoon.

Bloomington Police Information Officer Elias Mendiola told Cities 92.9 live at the scene that officers responded to a shots fired call at about 2:40 pm Monday.

Mendiola said, “Officers arrived to a very chaotic scene. Once they made entry, they found three deceased and a fourth victim, the 4-year old, was transported to a hospital.”

No names or descriptions of the victims have been given. Coroner Kathy Davis was at the scene but offered Cities 92.9 no comment at the time.

No arrests made been announced as of yet. No motive has been given.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Illinois Election Managers May Get IT Grants

Illinois could be on the receiving end of over 13 million-dollars for new election technology or better safeguards. Election managers from across the state are due in Bloomington next week for a training session that focuses on protecting the state's election information technology. Matt Dietrich, with the Illinois State Board of Elections, says Illinois was one of the states targeted by hackers in 2016. The training is in response to those threats.

Illinois Among States Impacted By Del Monte Veggie Tray Recall

There is another food recall in Illinois, this time over veggie trays. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Saturday issued a recall for Del Monte veggie trays and dip that had a 'Best if Used by Date of June 17th.' Public health managers say the fear is a possible cyclosporiasis outbreak.  So far, there are no reports of illnesses in Illinois related to the veggie trays.

Peoria Car Dealer Killed At Canadian Race Track

A Peoria car dealer is dead after a wreck at a Canadian race track. Authorities in Ontario say 61-year-old Jeff Green died after losing control of his car while racing at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Green was the president at both Green Ford and Green Chevrolet in Peoria.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Broker Says There Interest In Bloomington's Old State Farm Building

There is interest in State Farm's old headquarters in Bloomington. But, so far, there isn't a buyer. The broker who is helping with the sale, Chad Freese, told "The Bloomington Pantagraph" yesterday that there's a diverse interest in the historic building in Bloomington's downtown. But, because State Farm will only sell the building as a whole, Freese said it may take a while to sell the 13-story, 200 thousand square foot building.

Illinois Unemployment Rate Drops Again

Illinois' unemployment rate continues to fall. The Illinois Department of Employment Security yesterday said the jobless rate for May dropped to four-point-three percent, and that's down a tenth of a percent from the month before. IDES Director Jeff Mays says job gains for the first five months of the year are growing faster than in each of the past two years

Illinois' New Supreme Court Justice To Be Sworn In Today

Illinois will see only the state's second ever African American Supreme Court justice sworn in. Justice P. Scott Neville Jr. will be sworn in today. Neville is replacing Justice Charles Freeman, who was the first state's first African American justice. Neville will serve till 2020, then he would have to run for election.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

State Of Illinois Workers Closer To Step Raises

State of Illinois workers are a big step closer to a 400 million-dollar payday. The Illinois Labor Relations Board on Tuesday denied Governor Rauner's challenge to an order to pay state workers 'step increases' that date back to Pat Quinn's time in office. Step increases are automatic pay raises for longevity at a state job. The governor's office said the raises will cost at least 412 million-dollars.

Tazewell County Leaders Looking At Gun Sanctuary Declaration

Tazewell County could be Illinois' next gun sanctuary. County leaders aren't saying when they may vote to declare the county a place when gun owners don't have to fear their overreach. County Board Chairman David Zimmerman yesterday said the county would still have to abide by state and federal laws, but he wants to send a message to the people who live in the county that he respects their Second Amendment rights.

New Billboard Restarts Chief Debate At The U Of I

They're once again talking about The Chief at the University of Illinois. A local lawyer this week put up a billboard near the university that reads 'The Chief. Yesterday. Today. Forever.' Attorney John Gadau told "The Champaign News-Gazette" that he has the billboard space for a year. The U of I retired The Chief in 2007 after years of debate over the mascot's meaning. A university spokeswoman says the school wants to find a 'path forward' on the issue of The Chief.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Illinois Top 200 Voters Pick Wizard Of Oz As Top Book

Dorothy and Toto are from Kansas, and the Wizard is from Oz, but the Wonderful Wizard of Oz is Illinois' best book of the past 200 years. The state's bicentennial best-of voters last week picked the book which was written by L. Frank Baum in Chicago as the best book for Illinois' 200th birthday. The rest of the top five best books include "The Jungle," "Devil in the White City," "Spoon River Anthology," and "Native Son."

Peoria Schools To Drop Woodrow Wilson's Name From School

Peoria's first African American doctor will have her name on one of the city's school. The Peoria Public School Board yesterday voted to rename Woodrow Wilson Primary School in honor of Doctor Maude Sanders. Board President Martha Ross says kids in Peoria need to see more of their history at their schools. Only one school board member voted against the name change, saying he worries about the precedent that it sets.

McLean County Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile

 There's another case of West Nile in mosquitoes in central Illinois. The McLean County Health Department yesterday confirmed that a batch of mosquitoes captured on June 8th tested positive for West Nile. County health managers say people need to protect themselves with long sleeves and bug spray. Illinois hasn't yet seen a confirmed case of West Nile in humans.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

No Motive Yet In Bloomington Shooting That Killed Two

Bloomington Police are still not saying what they think led to a shooting that left two people dead and two others wounded. McLean County's coroner yesterday identified the victims as 20-year-old Taneshiea Brown and 18-year-old Steven Alexander Jr. as the two who died. Police are not identifying the two who were wounded. There's also no word on suspects or a motive. 

Illinois Republican Congressmen Write Trump To Oppose Blagojevich Clemency

Illinois' Republican congressmen don't want to see Rod Blagojevich released from prison early. The state's seven Republicans yesterday all signed a letter to President Trump formally opposing any clemency for the former Illinois governor. Congressman Darin LaHood, who helped write the letter, said yesterday that releasing Blagojevich early would send a terrible message to prosecutors who are looking to fight public corruption. LaHood says Blagojevich has never accepted his guilt or showed any remorse for his crimes. 

US and N Korea Sign Declaration on Nukes

President Trump says his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was honest, direct and productive. At a news briefing in Singapore today, Trump expressed confidence that a joint declaration with Kim will lead to complete denuclearization.  He called it very comprehensive.  Trump said the past does not have to define the future and noted that longtime adversaries can become friends.  Meantime, Trump noted that the U.S. will stop holding joint war games with South Korea and said he would like to bring American troops home eventually.  There are more than 30-thousand U.S. troops in South Korea.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Two Dead, Two Injured In Bloomington Shooting

Investigators in Bloomington are tight-lipped about a shooting on the city's east side that killed two people and injured two more. The shooting happened just after 1 a.m. yesterday. Bloomington Police say the victims are two pairs of men and women. One pair died, the other were hurt but are expected to live.

Poll: Pritzker With 16 Point Lead In Illinois Governor's Race

A new poll shows JB Pritzker with a large lead in the race for Illinois governor. "The Quad City Times" reported yesterday that the latest Illinois Poll gives Pritzker a 16 point lead, 46 percent to 30 percent, over Governor Bruce Rauner. The lead jumps to 76 percent when pollsters asked voters in Chicago and Cook County who they plan to vote for. Voters will decide between Pritzker and Rauner in November.

Illinois Among States On Recalled Melon List

Illinois one of eight states on the list of states where tainted melon slices could be on store shelves. The CDC says that Caito Foods recalled melons that were sliced at its Indianapolis facility. The CDC says 60 people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio have gotten sick from eating the melon. The recalled melon was sent to Kroger, Walgreens and Walmart.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Twin Cities Sports Complex Study Update

Sports Facilities Advisory, the Clearwater, Fla., consultant getting $47,000 to study the a possible Twin Cities sports complex this spring, is expected to present its results to a joint session of the Bloomington and Normal city councils and the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau board in July. A printed summary of SFA's findings is expected to be made public at the same time as the presentation.

Bloomington Fights Mounting Junk Problem

There's a lot of junk on the curb in Bloomington, and the city isn't touching it until the fall.  Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch on Wednesday told city leaders that his office has sent notices to 550 homes with junk on the curb.  Bloomington ended its every-other-week junk collection back in February and the city won't be around to haul stuff off until October.  Karch says people can haul the stuff to the dump themselves, or pay for the city to do it for them.

DNA Sample from Murder Defendant Requested

18-year-old Christopher Harrison of Bloomington who is charged in the shooting deaths of two men in April was ordered Thursday to provide a DNA sample to investigators as part of their forensic investigation into the double homicide, according to the Pantagraph
. Harrison, who was 17 at the time of the shooting and has since turned 18, is charged as an adult. He faces six counts of first-degree murder, eight counts related to stolen or illegally possessed guns and two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Probation For Teen In Nephew's Shooting Death

An 18-year-old is avoiding prison for the shooting death of his two-year-old nephew. A judge in Decatur yesterday sentenced Zachary Pherigo to two years of probation. Pherigo told police that he was playing cops and robbers with the little boy last October when his gun went off. Pherigo pleaded guilty to manslaughter and weapons charges in March, he was given credit for the 235 days he spent in Macon County jail.

Pay Cut for the County Auditor?

McLean County Board members were careful to say a $25,000 pay cut for the county auditor recommended Wednesday isn't personal. The Pantagraph reports members saying at previous meetings they wanted to cut the auditor's salary from about $100,000 to $75,000 in 2021 because three of four employees supervised by the position as of 2017 were moved to the treasurer's office on Jan. 1. The full County Board must still sign off on the change June 19.

Speaker Madigan's Statehouse Chief Of Staff Ousted In #MeToo Complaint

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's right hand man at the statehouse is out of a job after another #MeToo complaint. The Speaker yesterday said his Chief of Staff, Tim Mapes, resigned at his 'direction.' Mapes' resignation came just hours after another Madigan statehouse staffer told reporters about a number of inappropriate and sexual comments that she says Mapes made over the years.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Former Governor Files Clemency Paperwork With President Trump

It's now up to President Trump.  A number of media outlets in Chicago last night reported that former Governor Rod Blagojevich's attorneys filed a formal petition with the White House to end or reduce his 14 year prison sentence.  The paperwork could be just a formality.  President Trump said last week that he is thinking about freeing Blagojevich, because he doesn't think the former Illinois governor should be in prison for 'saying something stupid.'

Man Serious Injured In Central Illinois Grain Bin Accident

A worker at a central Illinois grain bin is recovering from serious injuries after being trapped inside the bin. The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office says the man got a leg caught in the bin's auger yesterday afternoon. He was able to get out, but deputies say the man's injuries were severe enough to need an air ambulance ride to the hospital in Peoria.

Online Group Wants Illinois To Secede From Chicago

There's a new push to have Chicago become its own state. WICS TV in Springfield reported yesterday that Collin Cliburn is organizing a group, The Illinois Separation, to cut ties between Chicago and Cook County, and the rest of the state. Cliburn says voters in the rest of Illinois don't want the same things as voters in Chicago. It's not the first time that someone has proposed a split between Chicago and the rest of the state. Those attempts, by the way, went nowhere.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Rodney Davis Worries About Trade War With Allies



One central Illinois congressman says he worries about a possible trade war with our allies.  Republican Rodney Davis yesterday said he wishes President Trump would turn his focus on tariffs back to China and away from Canada and Mexico.  Davis says he doesn't want to see the U.S. get involved in a trade dispute with people who are supposed to be our friends. 

Illinois Governor Signs New State Budget

For the first time in two years, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's signature is on a state budget.  The governor yesterday signed the state's new 38-and-a-half-billion-dollar spending plan.  The new plan spends a bit more on education in the state, and for the first time ever guarantees state grants for college students for all four years.  But the budget also uses some one-time savings, and banks on selling the Thompson Center in Chicago.  Critics say the plan is merely buying the state some time to deal with its fiscal problems.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Two Injured After Shots Fired Overnight in Bloomington

Two men are injured with conditions unknown at this time after a shots fired incident was reported in Bloomington. Police responded to Monroe and McLean around 1:30 a.m. Monday to a report of multiple shots fired. A 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound was found near East and Jefferson and transported to a local hospital. A second 19-year-old man, injured by "unknown causes," said both men were in a vehicle driving when another vehicle approached and a person or people inside began to shoot towards them. That man was also taken to a local hospital. An abandoned vehicle with a rear broken window and the engine still running was found in the intersection of Monroe and McLean. Multiple shell casings were found, and several callers reported hearing multiple gunshots. If you have any information on this incident, contact Detectives Curt Maas at (309) 434-2534 or cmaas@cityblm.org and Paul Swanlund (309) 434-2373 or pswanlund@cityblm.org.

Fire Destroys Westside Home

A west side family is without at home, but they are safe after fire destroyed their house Sunday .Firefighters were called to 109 Constantine in Bloomington at 4:27 p.m. No injuries were reported and the cause of the blaze has not yet been released.

Governor Rauner To Sign New State Budget

Illinois will have a new budget in place by midday. Governor Rauner has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference in Chicago to sign the state's new 38-and-a-half billion-dollars spending plan. The governor's office says 'leaders, sponsors and negotiators' from the General Assembly will join the governor. But they are not saying specifically who will be there.

Truck Driver Charged With Shooting Out Windows On I-74

Prosecutors in Champaign are charging a Wisconsin truck driver with shooting out the windows of other cars along I-74. Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said yesterday that 53-year-old Kevin Lee Casey of Janesville, Wisconsin used a slingshot to shatter windows in cars as he drove on I-74. The Illinois State Police arrested Casey on Friday after they say he shot out the window of a minivan. Rietz says she plans to file formal charges later today.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Bloomington Coliseum Loses Money Again

Bloomington's city-owned coliseum will finish another year in the red. "The Bloomington Pantagraph" reported last night that the coliseum, called The Grossinger Motors Arena, will lose 673 thousand-dollars on the year. Coliseum managers say they turned a 50 thousand-dollar profit in the fourth quarter of the year, but that wasn't enough to erase a loss throughout the rest of the year.