Illinois State Police (ISP) officials unveiled enforcement plans for the 50th Super Bowl weekend. ISP Troopers will strictly enforce moving violations with an emphasis on FATAL-4 violations: DUI, Speeding, Distracted Driving and Seat Belts. ISP Troopers issued more than 1,850 FATAL-4 citations during the 2015 Super Bowl weekend, 105 of which were DUI.
Alcohol is a leading factor in fatal traffic crashes, especially during celebratory weekends. ISP officials are again reminding Super Bowl fans to celebrate responsibly with a designated driver.
"DUI's are responsible for nearly one-third of all fatal crashes in Illinois. A single DUI can cost thousands of dollars, suspension of driving privileges, potential jail time, or worse, cause the death of another motorist," said ISP Colonel Tad Williams. "Plan ahead to arrive home safe this Super Bowl weekend by designating a driver or catching a cab. Everyone wins when we all make it home safe."
The ISP is urging motorists to make this Super Bowl Sunday one to remember, not one to regret. Help keep the roads safe by planning ahead and designating a driver.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ unpaid bills continue to pile up, according to a report from the Associated Press.
As the political bickering continues over the state budget, which was to take effect in July, hundreds of contractors haven’t been paid according to documents released under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Ashley’s Quality Care in Chicago is among those waiting to be paid by the state. The business provides in-home care workers to help keep seniors out of nursing homes. The company has not met payroll for several weeks forcing countless employees to leave.
MORRIS – A $1 billion natural gas energy station is planned for Grundy County.
A private company is reportedly proposing the station with construction possibly starting in 2018 depending on permit approvals from state regulators.
The northern Illinois product is being planned by Competitive Power Ventures Inc. of Maryland.
>01-24 a rural Cabery resident reported hearing gunshots near her home.
>01-25 a Melvin resident reported an attempted internet scam.
>01-27 deputies mediated a domestic dispute in Stelle.
>01-27 a loud noise complaint was received at an apartment complex in Piper City.
>01-28 deputies responded to a loud noise complaint at an apartment complex in Piper City. While handling that complaint the suspect made threats to harm himself and was taken by ambulance for a psychological evaluation.
>01-30 a deputy assisted a Gibson City police officer with a warrant arrest.
>01-30 a report of domestic battery was taken in rural Gibson City.
>01-30 a civil standby was conducted in Stelle.
During the week deputies handled 1 civil matter and issued 11 traffic citations.
>01-24 a Gibson City juvenile struck a tree with her vehicle. The crash occurred at 435E 700N Road.
>01-25 Aaron Cooper of Cabery struck a whitetail deer on Rt115 near Roberts while driving a Gibson Area Ambulance.
>01-25 Jeremy Fagan of Cullom struck a whitetail deer with his vehicle at 1310E 2900N Road.
>01-30 Peter Pishos of rural Gibson City failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign located at 500N and 800E Roads. His trailer collided with a vehicle driven by Kay Horsch of rural Dewey.
>01-30 Alexander Ogle of Piper City was arrested for Domestic Battery following an altercation in Piper City
>01-30 Dennis Malchow of Stelle was arrested for Stalking after an investigation by a deputy.
Illinois State Police (ISP) officials welcomed the appointment of Cindy Barbera-Brelle as the first Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator beginning February 8, 2016.
Barbera-Brelle is currently the Executive Director of the Northwest Central Dispatch System. In this role she is in charge of the day-to-day technical, administrative and operational functions of the multi-jurisdictional 9-1-1 communication center. The Northwest Central Dispatch System serves eleven communities in northwest-suburban Cook County. She also has experience as the Director of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department where she oversaw its 9-1-1 emergency communication center for the unincorporated areas of the county.
In addition to her work in the public sector, Barbera-Brelle was a Senior Program Manager with Printrak. She oversaw the implementation of multi-agency computer aided dispatch and record management systems.
Barbera-Brelle earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University in law enforcement administration. She holds a master’s degree from DePaul University and an MBA from the Keller School of Management.
DWIGHT - A fatal fire in Dwight is under investigation by numerous agencies, including the Livingston County Coroner's office, Mutual Aid Box Alarm Division 15 and the State Fire Marshal.
Authorities say Patricia Bonora of Dwight died in connection with the fire, which was reported on West Chippewa Street last Thursday morning. A 911 dispatcher reportedly received reports of smoke in the building followed by flames. Several fire and EMS agencies responded to the scene last week.
Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order 16-01 to create the new Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). The new state agency will transform the state’s information technology functions into one agency to provide better service to Illinois residents and businesses.
“We are in the midst of a digital revolution. Technology has made us more efficient, more informed and better connected,” Governor Rauner said. “The Department of Innovation and Technology will modernize our aging technology systems and lead to better, quicker and more efficient service for taxpayers. This technology transformation is critical to enhancing our competitiveness.”
Executive Order 16-01 will create a strategic, statewide technology plan to accelerate Illinois’ modernization. All information technology decisions and spending will be centralized and consolidated under this new agency. DoIT will develop statewide IT solutions that take a 360-degree view of a resident or business. This will allow the state to use data to provide more tailored services while reducing inefficiencies and costs to taxpayers.
While there has been some consolidation of IT services under CMS, each agency was left in charge of developing its own technology solutions. That created a patchwork of systems that were often redundant, not interoperable and vulnerable to cyber attacks. Currently, agencies often cannot share data easily to identify waste, save taxpayer money, and more efficiently serve businesses and residents.
“Centralizing Illinois’ information technology systems will allow us to make more strategic decisions to improve service for residents and businesses,” Hardik Bhatt, Illinois Chief Information Officer said. “DoIT will be focused on helping each state agency leverage technology solutions to provide the best service for Illinois constituents.”
Twenty nine other states, the City of Chicago and much of the private sector consolidate technology functions into central departments. This new agency will be led by state CIO, Hardik Bhatt.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association announces that it will be awarding $54,000.00 in college scholarships throughout the State of Illinois to students wishing to pursue higher education during the 2016-2017 academic year. The scholarships are to be applied to tuition, books and fees only. The student must be enrolled full-time at a certified institution of higher learning within the State of Illinois.
Sheriff Mark Doran, Ford County, will be awarding one scholarship in the amount of $500. There will be no restriction on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin. The only limitations are as follows:
*Applicants must be permanent Illinois residents.
*Scholarships must be utilized at institutions of higher learning within the State of Illinois.
*Students must be enrolled as a full-time student during the 2016-2017 school year (excluding summer session).
Applications are now available at your local Sheriff’s office or on the ISA Website www.ilsheriff.org. Students must complete the application; answer the essay question and return all documentation to the Sheriff’s office in their permanent county of residence postmarked by March 15, 2016.
For more information, please contact your local Sheriff’s Office, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, or school advising center.
WATSEKA - The Illinois Federation of Republican Women (IFRW) elected Susan Wynn Bence, of Watseka, as their new president.
The IFRW is the largest, grassroots volunteer Republican women's organization in Illinois. Bence will oversee nine regions and forty one clubs. Bence joined the Illinois Federation of Republican Women (IFRW) in the late 1990s and has been significantly involved ever since. She is the past president of the Iroquois County Republican Women's Club. She has also served the IFRW as membership chairman prior to becoming the 2nd Vice President in 2014.
Recently, Susan served as the Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for former State Representative Josh Harms and Chief of Staff to State Representative Tom Bennett before accepting her current position as the Springfield Director for Illinois Lieutenant Governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti.
Governor Bruce Rauner announced the creation of the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (A.D.M.E) program to improve the economic climate for minority and women-owned businesses in Illinois.
“We need to lift up minorities and women who have been overlooked within our society and are underrepresented in our economy,” Governor Rauner said. “Illinois is one of the most diverse states in the country and everyone benefits by cultivating and celebrating that diversity. A.D.M.E is a step forward in creating an economy where minority entrepreneurs are supported at the highest level.”
Illinois is home to a thriving start-up and small business ecosystem. A.D.M.E builds on that by tapping into the potential of underrepresented communities. A.D.M.E will identify high-potential minority entrepreneurs and provide them with resources from start to finish to grow their business. The program will ensure these individuals and companies have the knowledge, tools, resources and support system they need to flourish.
The first year of the program will focus on minority communities in Chicago, Peoria and Rockford with the goal of expanding statewide. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will oversee A.D.M.E. by creating an ecosystem of community partners for a tailored experience leading to long-term results.
“Illinois is creating a trail for minority entrepreneurs to succeed," Jimmy Odom, Senior Policy Adviser at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said. "A.D.M.E will open doors for these innovative individuals by supporting them at every level and providing them with additional knowledge and resources. We can give these innovative individuals and companies a better chance at success in a long-term and meaningful way, which will create a positive ripple effect in their community and across the state."
>01-04 a residential burglar alarm was received in Melvin. The cause of the alarm was owner error.
>01-05 a deputy assisted an Iroquois County deputy in Loda for a call of a suicidal male.
>01-06 a deputy found a damaged side door to a Sibley residence open. The home is currently unoccupied.
>01-07 a rural Elliott resident reported being the victim of a phone scam.
>01-08 a Roberts resident reported possibly being the victim of stalking.
>01-09 deputies assisted the Roberts Fire Dept. first responders and Buckley Ambulance personnel with a reported suicidal male in Roberts. The report was unfounded.
During the week deputies handled 2 civil matters and issued 7 traffic citations.
>01-03 Daniel Edwards of Melvin struck several cows in the roadway at 600E Rt54.
>01-03 a Melvin juvenile struck a vehicle in the roadway that had just struck several cows at 600E Rt54.
>01-06 Edwin Miller of Melvin struck a whitetail deer at 1400E Rt9.
>01-08 Jacob Benningfield was involved in a single-vehicle rollover accident at 550E 300N Road.
>01-09 Thomas Duffy of Melvin reported hitting a whitetail deer with his vehicle.
>01-03 Justin Benton of Mahomet was arrested for Driving under Suspension after being stopped for speeding at 800N Rt115.
>01-04 Joshua Henderson of Paxton was arrested following a domestic argument. He was charged with Criminal Damage to Property, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of Probation.
OAK BROOK - Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti formally presented Governor Bruce Rauner with the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force’s final report.
“Part of reforming and turning around Illinois includes empowering local communities. This report shows the efficiencies and inefficiencies within local governments and provides concepts on how to give the people of Illinois more control over their future and their tax dollars,” Governor Rauner said. “I thank the Lt. Governor and the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force for their hard work and dedication to the people of Illinois.”
According to the US Census of Government, Illinois has more local units of government than any other state in the nation at 6,963. Illinois also has the second-highest effective property tax rate in the nation.
“This report is the culmination of an 11-month effort of the Task Force joining together in support of proposals to structurally reform state and local government, and get Illinois back on track,” said Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. “As a mother of three, I want my kids to live in a better Illinois. I want them to live in a state that tackles its fiscal and structural issues head-on, with real reform. I hope our leadership in the General Assembly puts politics aside and considers the needed reforms in this report.”
On February 13, 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner created the Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates. Its charge was to find efficiencies and ways to streamline local government functions to save taxpayer dollars. The Task Force convened 16 meetings across the state and conducted a comprehensive review of state laws pertaining to local governments and school districts. The final report includes a study on unfunded mandates and opportunities to streamline or eliminate governmental bodies and schools districts, and 27 Task Force endorsed recommendations. The Task Force endorsed 27 recommendations which resulted from the testimony of 33 experts representing government associations, nonprofit think tanks, researchers, and state agencies.
The first major winter weather event of 2016 is behind us, but the cold weather is here to stay for a while.
After a few inches of snow fell in many locations Saturday afternoon and evening, the winds picked up and blowing snow was reported throughout Central Illinois into Sunday. Some churches were forced to cancel services and roads were snow covered because of drifting in the open areas. Cities such as Bloomington issued a snow route parking ban because of the anticipated weather.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for some counties while other locations in eastern Illinois were under an actual winter storm watch for a time.
Now the focus turns to some of the coldest weather of the winter so far. Monday wind chills will dip to 15 below and actual lows Monday night into early Tuesday will reach 10 degrees. Minor snow accumulation is possible Monday afternoon and evening before the windy and cold weather continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs both days will only be in the teens.
COLFAX – The atmosphere inside the Ridgeview High School gymnasium was quite electric on Tuesday night and it wasn’t because the Mustangs defeated rival Lexington.
“Coach Kellars’ Court” was officially dedicated during a special ceremony prior to the varsity basketball game. The court is named after longtime Ridgeview head basketball coach Rodney Kellar and his father, Leon Kellar, who passed away last March just hours after his son’s basketball team won the Class 1A super-sectional.
“On behalf of our family, I’m very honored, very humbled and a little bit embarrassed to be here tonight,” said an emotional Rodney Kellar. “My father loved the journey and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it.”
Leon was a longtime teacher, coach and administrator at both Octavia and Ridgeview. He was highly respected by both students and athletes over the years. This was apparent by the number of individuals at his visitation last year in the school gym. Many waited for hours to pass along their condolences to the grieving Kellar family as the line stretched outside the school along the streets of Colfax. The gym also saw a capacity crowd Tuesday night for the ceremony.
“Love is a commitment to our family that my father had, to his profession here at Octavia and Ridgeview,” added Kellar.
According to Kellar, it was not tough love with his father – it was “love tough.” He said some of the former Octavia Rockets know what he is talking about. Kellar considers himself the luckiest guy in the world since he lived the first half of his life as a Rocket and the later years as a Mustang.
“It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Ridgeview used the momentum from an enthusiastic home crowd Tuesday to defeat Lexington 91-34. Four Mustangs reached double figures in the Heart of Illinois Conference defeat.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner this week added 11 counties to the state disaster declaration for widespread flooding. Those counties include Cass, Cumberland, Iroquois, Lawrence, Marion, Menard, Moultrie, Pike, Richland, Sangamon and Vermilion.
Last week, Gov. Rauner declared Alexander, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Douglas, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Randolph and St. Clair counties state disaster areas after heavy rains caused several rivers and waterways to surge to record or near-record levels. Today’s announcement brings the total number of declared counties to 23.
“The impacts of this flood event have been felt in many communities across the state,” said Gov. Rauner. “We’re continuing to provide personnel and resources communities need as they battle flood waters and begin their recovery process.”
A state disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding. Such resources include sandbags, sand, pumps, trucks, inmate crews and other assistance to ensure public safety.
ODELL – One person is dead after a fatal wreck near Odell in Livingston County last week and State Police are investigating.
The incident occurred at Old Route 66 and Livingston County Road 2500 North after 4 p.m. Saturday. The victim was reportedly a passenger who was ejected from the car. Firefighters from Odell and Duffy Ambulance helped State Police at the scene.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner today added Alexander, Christian, Clinton, Douglas and Morgan counties to the state disaster declaration for widespread flooding. This brings the statewide total of declared counties to 12.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rauner declared Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties.
“While the rains have stopped, we’re continuing to see more communities battling flood waters in order to protect their residents and critical facilities,” said Governor Rauner. “The state of Illinois will continue to support these local efforts with personnel and resources throughout this flood event.”
Governor Rauner will return to Springfield Thursday evening and will spend the following several days in Central and Southern Illinois viewing flood damage, thanking volunteers and ensuring communities have everything they need.
A state disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding. Such resources include sandbag, sand, pumps, trucks and other heavy equipment and other assistance to ensure public safety. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated Monday morning to coordinate the state’s flood response. The SEOC will remain open until the threat has passed.
For updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.ready.illinois.gov.
>12-20 a report of fraud was taken in Piper City.
>12-20 a deputy assisted the Piper City Fire Dept. with an odor of gas inside an apartment building in Piper City.
>12-21 a commercial burglar alarm was received from the Vermilion Valley Bank in Roberts. The cause was an alarm malfunction.>12-23 a residential burglar alarm was received in Melvin.
>12-23 a commercial burglar alarm was received from AHW John Deere in Melvin.>12-24 a residential burglar alarm was received in Melvin
>12-24 a report of aggravated battery was taken in Piper City.>12-24 deputies found an elderly male from Creve Coeur, Il. in Sibley who was lost and confused about where he was. He was taken by ambulance for treatment.
>12-24 a commercial burglar alarm was received from AHW John Deere in Melvin.
>12-24 a Melvin juvenile was found driving after curfew in Elliott. She was released to her parent.
>12-25 a deputy checked the area of Stockholm and Eastview in Paxton on a report of “automatic” gunfire in the area. No problems were located.
>12-26 a report of telephone threats was taken in Kempton.
>12-26 deputies checked on two males in Piper City who reported as being suspicious. They had broken down in town and a resident was assisting them.
>12-26 several reports of static filled hang-up 911 calls were reported in the Piper City area. They were the result of the heavy rain in the area flooding the Frontier Communications phone lines to the houses.
During the week deputies handled 3 civil matters and issued 7 traffic citations.
>12-22 Kelly Rife of Rantoul struck a whitetail deer with her car at 1440E Rt9.
>12-23 Edward Rice of Champaign was arrested while driving on Rt47 south of Sibley He was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Driving under the Influence of Drugs.
The week started off with quite a mix of wintry weather across Central Illinois on Monday. Many locations reported ice accumulations, freezing rain, snow and sleet. Excessive rainfall resulted in flooded fields and roadways in the rural areas. Also, the area rivers are approaching flood stage if they aren't there already.
Numerous power outages were reported among customers of various utility companies as of Monday evening. Pontiac Police and Pontiac Fire were busy with multiple weather related calls due to wind, rain and ice on Saturday.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated this morning to ensure state personnel and equipment are ready to be deployed quickly if needed to help local emergency responders as they deal with flooding and winter weather.
Representatives from several state agencies are in the SEOC and state officials are assessing the storm’s impact and communicating with local response officials to determine if state resources are needed to ensure citizen safety. The SEOC will remain activated as long as necessary.
CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner announced he has made appointments to the Illinois Labor Relations Board and the Illinois Arts Council.
Rauner has reappointed John Hartnett as the Chairman of the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB). He has served as the board’s chairman since 2012. Hartnett has an extensive background in labor relations from his time as a state employee and as a consultant in labor negotiations. For 26 years, Hartnett served as a labor relations manager at Central Management Services and then at the Illinois Department of Human Services.
In these positions, he administered the labor relations program for the agency. In 2003, he joined JHDH, Inc. as Vice President. It is a negotiation and labor relations consulting firm that represents employers in the public and private sectors. In addition to his time in the private sector, Hartnett was a senior associate at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, where he provided leadership education and management development to elected officials of local governments. In addition, he was an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield in the School of Public Administration until 2012. Hartnett earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Western Illinois University. He lives in Springfield.
Illinois Arts Council Appointments: