HEYWORTH – A fatal wreck which occurred near Heyworth Saturday is under investigation.
The McLean County Coroner says a motor vehicle fatality occurred on the northbound lane of U.S. 51 near County Road 425 North. The vehicle involved had two occupants, one male and one female. The female was transported to a local hospital while the male, who was the seat belted driver, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say both occupants were from Decatur and an autopsy is planned for Monday. The incident remains under investigation by the coroner along with Illinois State Police and the McLean County Sheriff’s Department.
JACKSONVILLE, Illinois - The Illinois State Police confirmed the arrest of Illinois School for the Visually Impaired Instructor James R. Strader regarding an allegation of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.
Strader has been employed at the school since July of 2014 and worked as a Rehabilitation and Mobility Instructor. Strader was taken into custody on December 18, 2014 without incident pursuant to an investigation conducted by the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation. The investigation remains on going and the department is working with the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s Office.
CHICAGO – Illinois State Police (ISP) officials announced the arrest of three female fugitives wanted in connection with a theft that occurred in a New Jersey restaurant earlier this year.
The three subjects, Ljuba Petrov, 42, of Lincolnwood, IL, Biserka Petrov, 32, also of Lincolnwood, and Linda Martinov, 56, of Park Ridge, IL, are accused of participating in the theft which netted the group approximately $18,000 in cash.
On September 27, 2014, the offenders entered a Chinese restaurant in Folsom, New Jersey and distracted its owners while accomplices stole the owner's purse which contained the cash deposits for the restaurant. The offenders then fled the scene in two separate vehicles.
The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) was able to identify the subjects as being from the Chicagoland area and obtained warrants with nationwide extradition for their arrests. The NJSP later contacted the ISP Ruse Burglary Task Force and requested assistance in apprehending the offenders.
BLOOMINGTON – Dancing and ice skating stars converged on Bloomington earlier this week during “Shall we Dance on Ice” at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White (pictured above) headlined the dance show. Another special guest included Dancing With The Stars mirror ball winner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Check out our brand new PHOTOS page as we capture local events throughout the year!
Bloomington, IL— The 23rd Day of December is a day of remembrance for those families that have been directly affected by the Move Over Law, or officially known as the Scott’s Law.
In 2002, Scott’s Law was enacted in honor of Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. While Lt. Scott Gillen was working on the scene of an accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway, he was struck and killed by a motorist that drove through the emergency scene on December 23rd, 2000.
Since the enactment of Scott’s Law, numerous emergency responders, law enforcement officers, fire-fighters, tollway employees, and highway workers have been injured while performing their duties of maintaining our state’s roadways and helping those in need.
The Bloomington Fire Department would like to honor the memory of those killed in the line of duty on our state roadways: Lt. Scott Gillen, Illinois State Police Troopers Kyle Deatherage and James Sauter, Pontiac Police Officer Casey J. Kohlmeier and his K-9 partner, Draco, Illinois Tollway em-ployee Vincent Petrella, and Bloomington and Hudson Firefighter Christopher Brown.
The Bloomington Fire Department would like to remind motorists that the Scott’s Law mandates that when approaching emergency vehicles displaying warning lights, the approaching vehicle shall re-duce the speed of the vehicle, yield to the right-of-way by changing into a lane not immediately near the emergency vehicle. Drivers should be prepared to pull over to the right-hand side of the road and stop their vehicle if directed to do so by emergency personnel. This law applies to all vehicles dis-playing flashing lights, including highway maintenance vehicles.
BLOOMINGTON - At the regular meeting of the McLean County Board on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, the board approved the County Board meeting dates for Calendar Year 2015 and the Holiday Schedule for County Employees for the Year 2015.
The County Board approved a “Resolution of the McLean County Board Establishing an Ordinance Describing and Designating an area located partially within the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, the City of Gibson City, County of Ford and unincorporated McLean County as an Enterprise Zone, and an
Intergovernmental Agreement concerning Enterprise Zone Designation and Operation.
The Board approved the renewal of Multi-Disciplinary Domestic Violence Grants from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority for Court Services, the Sheriff’s Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office.
It appears a final decision on the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Project in Livingston County won’t be made anytime soon.
The Zoning Board of Appeals wind farm hearing has been continued to Jan. 12 at the Walton Centre in Fairbury starting at 6:30 p.m. Other hearings will be held in either Pontiac or Fairbury on Jan. 14, 21, 22, 26 and 28.
During the Dec. 17 meeting in Fairbury, attorney Phil Luetkehans continued to question witnesses. Luetkehans, who represents the United Citizens of Livingston County, spent quite a bit of time questioning an assistant professor of neurology with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Much of the discussion focused on medical issues, including sleep disruption.
“Looking at scientific literature, we are not finding sleep disruption,” Dr. Jeffrey Ellenbogen said. “There are numerous forms of sleep disruption and one is not like the other.”
Luetkehans asked if it would be an appropriate statement if someone approached the doctor about sleep disruption because of a wind turbine. Ellenbogen said it is something he would take seriously, but he would also think about a host of other problems.
“Would you agree that low frequency sounds can affect people in ways that are not yet fully understood?” Luetkehans asked.
“You’re asking me to acknowledge what isn’t known,” replied the doctor.
Even though the Livingston County Board has the final say on the project, the Zoning Board of Appeals will first make a recommendation.
The wind energy conversion system proposal consists of 136 wind turbines, a substation, operation and maintenance center, temporary construction laydown area, electrical lines and other associated facilities. The project would be located in nine townships, including Belle Prairie, Fayette, Indian Grove, Forrest, Chatsworth, Eppards Point, Avoca, Pleasant Ridge, and Charlotte.
PONTIAC - The death of an inmate at the Pontiac prison is being investigated as a possible homicide.
During the early morning hours on Tuesday, inmate Fabian Carrillo, 36, was found unresponsive in his cell. He later died at the hospital and officials are waiting for toxicology test results. Corrections officials say there were no sharp objects found nearby.
Carrillo was reportedly serving a 52-year sentence for a Cook County murder conviction. He had been in prison for over 10 years.
Sadly, the holiday season hasn’t been so cheerful for residents of the Fairbury area as they mourn the loss of two community leaders and three teenagers in recent days.
The community lost Planning Commission Chairman Norm Rittenhouse and Alderman Doug Hibsch who were both remembered as dedicated public servants at Wednesday’s meeting of the Fairbury City Council.
“As you know, this is a pretty sad week for us,” Fairbury Mayor Lynn Dameron said during the brief meeting which also included a moment of silence for the men.
Alderman Terry Zimmerman noted that it has been a tough week for young people in this area with the loss of three teenagers. He hopes people show special acts of kindness in the name of Norm, Doug and the kids who passed away.
“Those that I spoke with thought it would be kind of a memorial and a wonderful expression of how this community feels about those that serve and also how we value our kids,” Zimmerman said.
The rough December began on Monday, Dec. 8 when Tori Hernandez, 18, of Fairbury died at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The following Thursday, Ryan Bray, 16, of rural Chenoa was pronounced dead at his residence. Kimberly “Kimmy” Blair, 17, of Pontiac died that Friday at OSF St. James Medical Center in Pontiac as the result of an automobile accident.
This past Monday, a former longtime Fairbury postmaster passed away at Fairview Haven Retirement Community. John B. Reis, 91, originally graduated from Fairbury Township High School and attended the University of Notre Dame and Illinois State University before serving in the U.S. Navy and as the local postmaster for several years.
Anyone planning to throw a big holiday party in the coming weeks should listen to some advice from the Illinois Department of Insurance.
Agency spokeswoman Kimberly Parker hopes you have a plan in place for any party guests who may drink too much.
When preparing for a party, exercise caution and common sense, according to Parker. Tips on avoiding disasters this holiday season can be found online at: www.insurance.illinois.gov.
The official website for the 2015 Illinois Inauguration has been launched, offering interested individuals an easy to navigate guide to January’s inaugural activities and ceremony.
Visitors to IllinoisInauguration.com can access the schedule of events, the majority of which are free and open to the general public. Notable events in Springfield will include:
• Free daytime admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on Sunday, January 11
• A free “Celebrate Illinois” event at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library on the evening of Sunday, January 11
• Free ticketed admission to the Inaugural Ceremony at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on Monday, January 12
• Free “Open House” with the Governor and First Lady at the Old State Capitol on Monday, January 12
• Inaugural Concert at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on the evening of Monday, January 12
The Inaugural Concert replaces the traditional Inaugural Ball and will feature a famous musical act to be announced at a later date.
Additional major events, activities and information will be announced in the dates leading up to the Inauguration.
Peoria, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP), District 8 announced the results of Nighttime Enforcement Patrols (NITE) held during the late evening hours of November, 2014.
The patrols were conducted in Peoria and Tazewell counties by ISP District 8 officers. Alcohol is involved in over 40 percent of fatal crashes in Illinois. NITE patrols are designed to keep our roads safe by removing alcohol-impaired drivers. However, when other violations are observed such as driving with a suspended or revoked license, operating a vehicle without a valid registration or insurance, or safety belt violations, enforcement action may be taken.
The following citations were issued during the patrols:
Violations Enforcement Activity
Speeding offenses 33
Occupant restraint offenses 18
Driving under the influence arrests 4
Other alcohol/drug arrests 5
Total citations/arrests 74
Total written warnings 108
This project was funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety.
12-13-14 updated at 1:30 p.m.
A 17-year-old from Pontiac has died after a single-vehicle accident which occurred Friday afternoon north of Fairbury in Livingston County's Avoca Township.
Authorities say Kimberly Blair was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly after 4 p.m. after she was transported from the accident scene. The incident reportedly took place near county roads 1100 North and 2150 East and Blair was thrown from the vehicle. An autopsy has been ordered.
Responding agencies included the fire and police departments from Fairbury, Livingston County Sheriff's Police and SELCAS Ambulance.
LEXINGTON - It is the time of year for holiday music at area schools.
Lexington Elementary presented a "Winter Fairy Tale" on Thursday night featuring various Christmas songs from children in all grades. The fourth, fifth and sixth graders presented "The Nutcracker Suite." Other performance highlights included "Suzy Snowflake" from the kindergarten class, "Home for the Holidays" by the first graders and "Festival Song" from the second grade students.
The school music director is Ms. Eleanor Hess.
(In above photo, the crowd watches in the Lexington High School gymnasium as the kindergarten class sings Christmas carols)
PONTIAC - The Livingston County Board has authorized a tax abatement package being promoted by the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council.
The package looks to bring new taxable value and new buildings to the area while also creating new jobs. Several local taxing bodies have already approved the abatement and others are considering it. GLCEDC CEO Adam Dontz said it is critical to earn a seat at the negotiating table to attract business.
Also on Thursday night, the Livingston County Board appropriated funds from the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) to cover 2015 anticipated expenses which include labor, materials and equipment. The total price is $973,735.
Central Illinois residents got into the spirit of the season on Saturday, as numerous holiday celebrations were held throughout the area.
In Fairbury, the annual chamber Christmas parade featured floats, music and the big man himself. The chamber’s Rebekah Fehr was pleased with the turnout Saturday morning.
“People look forward to this every year and look forward to Santa riding into town. The kids can visit with Santa at the Walton Centre,” said Fehr. “We still have two craft shows in town, we have biscuits and gravy, chili and oysters going on today and several bake sales are going on downtown, too.”
Bloomington held its annual Christmas parade Saturday morning also.
It was anything but a quiet night in the Town of Normal early Saturday as the Normal Fire Department fought two structure fires in the early morning hours, one alarm after the other.
Normal Fire Department responded to the first incident at 1826 Chuck Murray Drive at 1:55am for the report of a fire in an attached garage. The caller reported smoke and initially reported that all occupants were out of the home.
On arrival, the first engine reported fire in the attached garage and began fire attack. One of the occupants reported that there was one person unaccounted for and that they were last seen in an upstairs bedroom. While firefighting crews worked to extinguish the flames, another crew of firefighters did a primary search of the residence and located the missing person in an upstairs bedroom and removed her from the structure. She was not injured and declined medical treatment.
Firefighters had the fire under control in about 15 minutes. There was fire damage on the inside of the attached garage and a vehicle in the garage was damaged, but the fire did not extend into the home.
The home and vehicle are insured. Damage is estimated at $60,000.
While firefighters were clearing the smoke and cleaning up from the first fire, a second fire was reported at an apartment building at 705 Franklin Avenue. A neighbor reported seeing flames and smoke coming from a second story window of the apartment building.
Available units from Chuck Murray Drive immediately responded to the Franklin Avenue fire. The initial engine company and ambulance remained at the scene on Chuck Murray Drive. Due to units being split between the two incidents, a greater alarm was requested which paged in off-duty Normal Firefighters and requested a Rapid Intervention Team from Bloomington Fire Department.
Upon arrival at the Franklin Avenue fire, firefighters noted smoke and fire on the second floor of the northwest side of the apartment building and made entry into the building. The fire was located in a bedroom in Apartment 10 and was in the wall surrounding the window and quickly knocked down. Firefighters then opened the wall and removed the window to gain access to ensure that the fire had not spread further into the structure.
There were no injuries reported at the Franklin Avenue fire. Damage is estimated at $10,000. Young America Realty manages the property and was on site to board up the property and assist the occupants. It did not appear that any occupants would be displaced as a result of the fire.
Normal Fire Department Investigators are working to determine the cause and origin of both fires.
BLOOMINGTON – There’s a new sheriff in town for McLean County residents.
Jon Sandage was officially sworn into office Monday in Bloomington. He takes over for the retiring Mike Emery who served in the post for the past eight years.
Sandage wants to help solve the area’s drug problems and hopes to add another K-9 unit to the county by the summer.
PONTIAC – Marty Fannin will continue in his role as chairman of the Livingston County Board.
Fannin was nominated and re-elected to the post during Monday night’s organizational meeting at the historic Livingston County Courthouse.
“I’m going to do the best I can for this board and for the citizens of Livingston County,” Fannin said following the unanimous vote.
Also at the meeting, Robert Young was named vice chairman.
Livingston County Clerk and Recorder Kristy Masching called the meeting to order with the roll call of held over board members. Robert Weller was named temporary chair to preside over the start of the meeting. He named a credentials committee consisting of Jack Vietti, Joan Bullard and Stan Weber to review the election results.
Judge Jennifer Bauknecht administered the oath of office to newly-elected board members James Carley, Justin Goembel and David Heath. All three made remarks.
“I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the board,” said Carley.
“I’m eager to be a part of this,” stated Goembel.
“I want to say thank you to the people that re-elected me to this position,” added Heath.
After the meeting, Fannin eluded to a number of issues the county plans to address in the next two years.
“I know one of the things we’re going to be looking at is the health and education, public health and mental health areas – looking at those buildings and seeing what we can do, if it’s feasible to fix those.”
Fannin said he will leave the building issues up to the property committee, since that is what the committees are for.
Fannin planned to announce his county board committee assignments by late Tuesday afternoon. The new board members were instructed to take an Open Meetings Act training session online. They have two months to get that done.
McLean County Board re-elects Sorensen
The McLean County Board has once again chosen Matt Sorensen as its chairman and John McIntyre as vice chair. Three new board members, Mark Johnson, Paul Finch and Randall Martin, were sworn in along with several re-elected members.
HUDSON – An 83-year-old Morton woman who had been missing since last week was found dead in a submerged car at Evergreen Lake on Sunday.
McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis says her office received notification of a body found in a submerged car near the lake’s west boat launch at Comlara Park. Katherine Reardon was pronounced dead at 11:55 a.m. Sunday. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Reardon was last seen leaving Heritage Health of Normal on Nov. 23 around 5:30 p.m. The incident remains under investigation by the McLean County Coroner’s Office and the McLean County Sheriff’s Department.