10-30-14 (from pontiac.org website)
PONTIAC - October 30th is the one year anniversary of our community's loss of Officer Casey Kohlmeier and K-9 Draco.
There will be a public candlelight vigil in front of the Pontiac Police Station (413 N. Mill St.) at 8pm. The vigil will be a remembrance and celebration in honor of Casey and Draco. Project Bluelight is hosting the event.
If you have a candle please bring it as they will be available on a limited basis. Blue lights are also encouraged.
PONTIAC - Beginning November 3, a gallery show titled “People Watching”, by local artist Sue Drummet, will be on display at the Pontiac Community Art Center gallery located at 103 W. Madison St., Pontiac.
Through a variety of art mediums, Sue Drummet, the artist, examines 'people watching' as a source of entertainment and education at various locations and times. Sue will explain the fun and easy rules when played as a sport. The exhibit/sale will be open during regular art center hours, 7 days a week, through November 26. The Public is Welcome.
Regular hours for the Art Center are Monday - Friday, 10am-5pm, Saturday, 10am-4pm, and Sunday 12noon-4pm.
The Illinois Bright Start Direct plan is amongst the top five best performing college savings plans in the country, according to U.S. News & World Reports.
“I am pleased by this ranking,” said Treasurer Dan Rutherford, whose office oversees the program. “The Bright Start Direct, Bright Start Advisor, and Bright Directions Advisor programs currently have nearly $7 billion in assets and a record 370,000 accounts. Since becoming State Treasurer in 2011 assets in the college savings division have grown by 85%, and the number of accounts has increased by 38%.”
The Bright Start distinction is based on annualized three year return of all 529 data plans provided by Morningstar.
BLOOMINGTON – Autopsy results have been released for the two people struck and killed by a pickup truck in Bloomington Thursday evening.
McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling says forensic toxicology tests will be ordered for Alejandro and Pedro Guerrero. Pedro died from multiple blunt force injuries – specifically of the head, neck and chest. Alejandro reportedly died of brain injuries but the direction the Guerreros were walking on Old Colonial Road remains unclear. From Pedro’s injuries, Kimmerling says it appears he was facing the truck when it struck him.
The circumstances surrounding the incident remain under investigation by the McLean County Sheriff’s Department and McLean County Coroner’s Office.
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is encouraging area residents to attend his I-Cash events on Tuesday, October 28th in Fairbury, Gifford, and Danville to determine if the state is holding any money or unclaimed property entitled to them.
In fact, 12,136 owners in Livingston County have $1,803,324 in unclaimed property according to the July list of unclaimed property holders. There are 90,017 owners in Champaign County with $15,223,710 in unclaimed property and Vermillion County has 33,329 owners with $6,403,771 in unclaimed property. The Unclaimed Property Division has $2.1 billion in cash, plus contents from Illinois safe deposit boxes that have been inactive for at least five years.
“People are thrilled to find out they have money just waiting for them through I-Cash,” said Treasurer Rutherford. “I encourage area residents to come visit me at local I-Cash events for assistance in locating their money or property. In addition everyone should make an attempt to review our online database annually so they don’t miss out on money or valuable assets the state is holding for them.”
The treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division’s costs, including staff, computers and travel, are paid with program funds, and not by tax dollars.
In 2011, during Treasurer Rutherford’s first year in office, the program marked the first time in history that the office returned more than $100 million to the people who owned those assets. The total returned for 2012 was $129 million, a 27 percent increase over the previous year. In 2013, the program reunited more than $139 million in cash and other assets to their rightful owners, representing a 69 percent increase over 2010. In the first half of 2014, the program returned $71,441,744 to 32,257 claimants.
10-24-14 updated at: 7:45 am
BLOOMINGTON – A 27-year-old man, his two-year old nephew and a dog are all dead after being struck by a pickup truck on Old Colonial Road in Bloomington Thursday evening.
McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling says rescue personnel arrived on the scene to find a male victim and an unresponsive child in a blue stroller. Pedro Guerrero was found without obvious signs of life and the child, Alejandro Guerrero, was pronounced dead at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center.
Officials say the driver of the pickup was cooperative and has been interviewed by the McLean County Sheriff’s Department. Poor lighting conditions may have played a role in the incident and autopsies have been scheduled. The two resided in the Meadows Mobile Home Park near Old Colonial Road.
At the regular meeting of the McLean County Board on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, the McLean County Board expressed its appreciation to Ms. Beth Kimmerling for serving as Coroner for McLean County from December 2000 to November 2014. The Board congratulated Ms. Kimmerling, on her retirement.
The County Board acknowledged Ms. Becky McNeil, County Treasurer, and Ms. Michelle Anderson, County Auditor, for receiving the GFOA (Government Finance Officer Association) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
The County approved a Resolution to amend the Rules of the County Board of McLean County in regards to “Appearance by Non-Members.” Some of the changes include:
Requests to appear before that are directly related to an item on an agenda for a County Board meeting shall be submitted not less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the published start time of the Board meeting.
Requests to appear that are not directly related to an item on an agenda for the County Board meeting shall be submitted not less than one hundred and twenty (120) hours prior to the published start time of the Board meeting as which the non-member wishes to appear.
The County Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Bloomington and the County of McLean for traffic signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes Road and Fort Jesse Road.
The County Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Normal and the County of McLean for traffic signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes Road and Raab Road.
PONTIAC – The Pontiac City Council is expected to consider a pool and water park feasibility study when it meets in regular session Monday night at 7 inside the Pontiac City Hall on Howard Street.
Also on the agenda is a curb cut request for 1306 Apache Drive, a DCEO grant, FAA agreement and a street department purchase. The group will also consider a peddler license for National 1 Direct and Constellation Energy.
PONTIAC – The Livingston County Zoning Board of Appeals plans to hold hearings on the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Farm in November.
Hearings are scheduled Nov. 17, 18 and 19 on the application from Invenergy. The first hearing starts at 6 p.m. at Pontiac Township High School. Future hearings could be held at either Prairie Central Upper Elementary in Forrest or at the Walton Centre in downtown Fairbury.
The company wants to install over 130 turbines throughout 30,000 acres of farmland in southeastern Livingston County.
Illinois' economic outlook is one of the worst in the nation.
The American Legislative Exchange Council ranks the state at number 48 in its latest edition of "Rich States, Poor States." The ranking is based on 15 variables, including business tax rates and workers' compensation costs. Illinois' businesses tax rate comes in at number 44, at nine-and-a-half-percent. And the workers' comp payout comes in number 47, at two-dollars-and 83-cents for every 100-dollars in payroll costs.
10-10-14 (from the Bloomington Police Dept.)
Bloomington, IL - On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at approximately 1853 hours, officers from the Bloomington Police Department responded to the area of Washington Street and Howard Street to investigate a reported shooting.
Officers arrived on scene and located three male victims with apparent non-life threatening gunshots wounds. All three victims were transported by Bloomington Fire Department Rescue to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. At this time no suspect information is available. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Jared Roth at 309-434-2379 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers of McLean County at (309) 828-1111. If your call leads to the arrest and indictment of suspect(s) you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
10-9-14 (From the Livingston County State's Attorney's Office)
PONTIAC - A Livingston County jury has returned guilty verdicts against Heather Lamie, the foster mother charged in the death of four-year-old Kianna Rudesill.
Rudesill, who along with several other siblings had been placed in the foster-care of Lamie, was transported to Pontiac’s hospital, on the afternoon of May 3, 2011, suffering from seizure-like symptoms. It was determined Kianna had suffered serious head trauma and was experiencing bleeding on her brain. She was then Life-Flighted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where she underwent surgery in an attempt to reduce swelling of her brain. Ultimately, doctors’ efforts were unsuccessful and Kianna was pronounced dead on May 4, 2011. An autopsy determined her death was caused by a subdural hematoma and cerebral injuries due to blunt force trauma.
Lamie was charged in June of 2013 and her trial commenced on September 22, 2014. Following jury selection and eight days of testimony, the jury began deliberations yesterday afternoon and returned its verdics just before noon today. Lamie was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Endangering the Life or Health of a Child.
“I believe the jury followed the evidence and reached the right verdict. There are no winners in a case like this, but it’s my hope that this verdict will help provide some amount of resolution for Kianna’s family. The person responsible for Kianna’s death will now be held to account for her actions,” said Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff who tried the case with Kankakee County Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Ripley
Following the verdicts, Lamie was taken into custody and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 21, 2014. Due to the age of the victim, Lamie now faces a mandatory sentence of “natural life in prison” on the First Degree Murder conviction.
PONTIAC - It was another busy week for Pontiac if recent tourism visitor numbers are any indication.
Visitors came from 31 states and 23 different countries, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Uraguay.
In the past week, 909 visitors were counted at the Route 66 Museum Complex and 700 people visited the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum.
PEORIA, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) District 08 Troopers were joined recently by Troopers from ISP Districts 06, 09, and 14 for Operation Safe Travel.
The operation was geared toward reducing fatalities by enforcing the four most common traffic violations: Speeding; DUI; seat belts; and distracted driving, also known as the Fatal 4. Troopers saturated the area of Interstate 74, specifically focusing on the Morton construction zone area, and participated in a variety of details including speed enforcement, distracted driving, and construction zone details.
Troopers issued a total of 104 citations, with 92 of those being issued for speeding violations. The two highest speeds discovered during Operation Safe Travel were 104 mph and 120 mph in a 55 mph zone. Both of these violations were committed on Interstate 74 eastbound at Gale Avenue. Both offenders were driving motorcycles.
In addition to enforcing the Fatal 4 violations, Troopers also kept a close watch for motorists violating the Illinois Move Over law (also known as Scott’s Law). The law states upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency or maintenance vehicle displaying flashing lights, that the motorist must yield the right of way by changing lanes. If the motorist is unable to change lanes or on a two lane road, they must reduce their speed and proceed with due caution.
Vocal opponents of the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Project packed into the Prairie Central High School Media Center during the September meeting of the P.C. Board of Education.
The large audience was on hand to hear the board’s approach to the wind farm proposal, even though board members decided not to publicly take a stance on the issue at this time.
“The board really just kind of weighs in symbolically,” Prairie Central Superintendent Dr. John Capasso explained at the start of the meeting.
Some Illinois State University professors of renewable energy were invited to talk to the board about wind farm economics. Dr. David Loomis is an economics professor and director of the ISU Center for Renewable Energy. Technical assistant Matt Aldeman is the lead author of a report on wind farm implications for school district revenue.
According to Loomis, existing wind farms have an economic impact in Illinois with about $13 million annually in payments to landowners. He said the fair cash value for a utility-scale wind turbine in Illinois is $360,000 per megawatt of capacity and is annually adjusted for inflation and depreciation. Aldeman said the net effect of a wind farm is a large increase in revenue for the school district.
“As equalized assessed value in a district goes up, general state aid goes down,” he said. “If you install something that increases the EAV, the general state aid is not impacted for two years after that.”
Aldeman used the Ridgeview School District as an example of a district within a wind farm. Ridgeview’s property tax revenue did not jump up immediately as it took a while to build the Twin Groves Wind Farm in McLean County. The school saw tax revenue of $380,816 in 2008-2009 and $1,848,404 by the 2010-2011 school year.
He admitted there is an overall dip in revenue the year after a wind farm is decommissioned.
Several issues were brought up by audience members during the almost three-hour discussion such as the negative impacts of wind farms, job creation and health implications to the district. Members of the public would often cross-examine the presenters and broke out into rounds of applause when they agreed with certain comments. Many pleaded with the board to take some sort of stance on the wind farm.
“Our biggest concern is children’s health,” stated board member Mark Slagel to a loud ovation from the audience. “That’s my number one concern as a school board member, the health of our students.”
Board member Barbara Schlatter thanked the speakers for attending the meeting and reminded everyone that the two did not come to present information on local health concerns and other issues.
“You’ve done a fine job pointing out the financial implications of what a wind farm does for a school district.”
Fellow board member Jeffrey Austman said the board is not trained to answer some of the questions presented at the meeting.
“The economic benefit for the EAV raising – that’s what we’re qualified to comment on.”
“The short term financial gain definitely appears to be there,” stated board member Corey Steffen, who admitted he had questions beyond that.
Board member Jason Dotterer agreed with the potential financial benefits to the district but wishes the county could address some other concerns surrounding the proposal.
“Ultimately, this is a county board decision.”
Members Ann Steidinger and Patricia Haberkorn also said they have questions which still need to be answered before taking a stance.
“I am not convinced that it is the school board’s role to take a stand on this,” explained Haberkorn, who serves as the school board president.
Superintendent Capasso noted the district’s responsibility to teach kids about energy, as the board has already authorized a small turbine for the district.
“Maybe this is an opportunity to practice what we have already committed ourselves to,” he said.
Capasso pointed to future budgetary challenges and said it is very difficult to dismiss an opportunity such as this. He said schools around Prairie Central are benefiting from wind farms.