11-26-14 (from the McLean County Coroner's Office)
DANVERS - Monday, November 24, 2014 at approximately 1238 hours, MetCom was notified of a semi tractor-trailer vs. automobile incident just east of the intersection of Route 9 and Route 122, Dry Grove Township, rural Danvers, Illinois.
Danvers Police, Danvers Fire and Rescue, McLean County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police responded. Upon arrival, rescue personnel found the driver and only occupant of the car, a male, without obvious signs of life. The McLean County Coroner’s Office was notified and Deputy Pat Fox pronounced him deceased at 1328 hours. Preliminary information indicates the automobile was traveling east on Route 9 when, for unknown reasons, the car crossed the center lane and collided with the westbound tractor-trailer.
This incident, including accident reconstruction, will remain under investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Coroner’s office.
PONTIAC - After next Monday, the Livingston County Board will have a different look and feel.
The organizational meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Monday (Dec. 1) at the historic Livingston County Courthouse in downtown Pontiac. A temporary chair will be nominated to oversee the start of the meeting then a credentials committee will be appointed.
Judge Bauknecht will swear-in the newly elected board members James Carley, Justin Goembel and David Heath and a permanent chair will be nominated and elected by fellow members. A vice chair will also be chosen at the meeting.
Following the organizational meeting, the next regular board meeting is planned for Thursday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. in Pontiac.
DWIGHT - Authorities are investigating a recent bank robbery which occurred in Dwight and a large cash reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
Dwight Police say the Centrue Bank was robbed late last Thursday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. as someone entered the bank demanding money. An undisclosed amount of money was taken, although no weapon was displayed, according to officials.
Agencies helping Dwight Police with the investigation include: Livingston County Sheriff's Police, State Police, agents from the Peoria FBI office and Pontiac Police. Anyone with information on the matter should call: 815-584-3132 or 815-584-1975.
Parking in downtown Fairbury was filled to capacity Monday night (Nov. 24) as the Livingston County Zoning Board of Appeals continued its public hearing on the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Project.
The applicant, Invenergy, brought back a select group of individuals from the previous hearings held in Pontiac for cross-examination. Phil Luetkehans, who represents the United Citizens of Livingston County, asked several questions of the witnesses.
Land agent and project consultant Andrew Downey was among those testifying Monday. Downey works with landowners and has been involved in several phases of construction for various wind farms.
Luetkehans asked several questions about the number of property lines or residences within a certain distance of a turbine. He questioned another witness on the process of assembling and disassembling turbines and the makeup of a tower.
According to testimony, a tower mainly consists of steel, as it covers the walls and cabling runs up the inside along with a ladder. The height is around 78 meters and three-section towers are proposed for this project. A crane is used to work on turbines and the company usually follows the same path when moving the crane.
The witnesses weren’t always able to provide an answer to Luetkehans’ questions.
Questions were also raised by ZBA member Joan Huisman at the start of the hearing about tax implications and the impact on school district funding. Testimony revealed that there is a foundation level set by the Illinois State Board of Education. The equalized assessed value (EAV) leads to a reduction in state aid when a wind farm comes in.
The room was silent when ZBA acting chairman Michael Cornale said the board would accept questions from units of local government, including school districts. That’s when Cornale decided to move on to the attorney questions.
Invenergy wants to build 136 turbines and other associated facilities in nine Livingston County townships.
11-23-14 (from the Normal Fire Department)
As the weather turns cold, we close our windows and turn on our heating systems for the first time of the season. With the windows closed and the furnace running, we face the highest threat of carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning. Each year unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims hundreds of lives and sends thousands of people to the emergency room for treatment. Normal Fire Department reminds citizens of the threat that carbon monoxide poses, tips on how to prevent a carbon monoxide incident in their home, and what to do if the CO alarm sounds.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
Carbon monoxide binds to the blood cells and progressively blocks oxygen from being absorbed and circulated throughout the body. Early symptoms include headache, dizziness and nausea. Carbon monoxide can quickly lead to unconsciousness, organ failure and death. Many people may mistake the symptoms on a seasonal cold or influenza, and may not recognize there is an issue of CO poisoning.
“It’s important, especially this time of the year when everyone has their windows and doors closed up tight, that you have a working CO alarm in your home, and test it on a monthly basis, just as you should with your smoke alarms” said Matt Swaney, NFD Public Information Officer. “Last year, we had several cases where the CO alarm detected dangerous or even potentially lethal conditions inside a dwelling. With Carbon Monoxide, early detection is key to prevent illness or even death. Without a working CO detector, these instances could have had a tragic outcome.”
Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in US, with more than 20,000 people hospitalized and nearly 500 killed each year. The Centers for Disease Control reports that cases of carbon monoxide poisoning have been on the rise in recent years, climbing 36 percent between 2001 and 2006. Common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include faulty furnaces, water heaters, wood-burning stoves, vehicle exhaust entering homes, electrical generators, and propane or natural gas fueled heaters and stoves.
Effective January 1, 2007, Illinois law states that any home with fuel-fired appliances is required to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis is releasing the following information regarding the fire fatality at 308 Robinhood Lane, Bloomington.
Pronounced deceased at 12:30 pm was Phillip D. Thompson, age 54, of 308 Robinhood Lane, Apartment A, Bloomington. His cause of death is coronary atherosclerosis. Autopsy results indicate Mr. Thompson was deceased prior to the fire. Toxicology tests have been ordered. Bloomington Fire Department continues their investigation to determine cause and origin of the fire.
The Bloomington Police Department Vice Unit arrested one male and seized approximately 300 grams of Crack Cocaine after an investigation into drug sales in Bloomington.
Kiante M. Simmons (M) age 38, of Lynwood, IL, was arrested on 11/17/2014 for 5 counts of charges related to the sale of drugs.
During the execution of a search warrant related to the investigation, BPD detectives located 303 grams of Crack Cocaine (approximate street value of $30,000) and cash at an apartment in the 400 block of W. Market in Bloomington. Members of the Bloomington Police Department's Vice Unit and Street Crimes Unit were involved in the warrant service.
Simmons is currently in custody at the McLean County Jail.
BLOOMINGTON - The McLean County Board said goodbye to some elected officials while welcoming another this week.
Sally Pyne, Julie Brandt and Laurie Wollrab were all recognized for their service to the board. Sheriff Mike Emery was honored for serving as a deputy from 1970-2006 and as the sheriff from 2006-2014.
“The last eight years as sheriff has been extraordinary. A lot of progress has been made,” said Emery.
“It was a pleasure having you and we will miss you,” added board member Paul Segobiano.
Kathleen Davis was named the new McLean County Coroner, replacing Beth Kimmerling who recently retired. According to Chairman Matt Sorensen, eight people applied for the position.
“This is an honor and I’m thrilled to be serving the citizens of McLean County. Thank you so much,” Davis told the board.
Oil and gas drilling won’t be happening in McLean County anytime soon as the county upheld a recommendation from the Zoning Board of Appeals to deny an application from Minard Run Oil Company.
The special use permit would have allowed drilling on 275 acres in Downs Township, which is located in an agricultural district. Many board members expressed concerns over environmental issues such as protecting the local water supply.
A group of drilling opponents held up signs during Tuesday’s McLean County Board meeting at the Government Center in downtown Bloomington.
Also at the meeting, the board adopted the Fiscal Year 2015 combined annual appropriation and budget ordinance. District 8 member Carlo Robustelli said the budget fails to plan for the future and is not fiscally responsible. Meanwhile, member Jim Soeldner feels the county is trying to live within its means.
“I think we did a good job of protecting the taxpayer of McLean County,” stated board member Chuck Erickson.
Bloomington Firefighters responded to 308 Robinhood Ln on Bloomington’s near east side late Wednesdsay morning around 11:30 a.m.
Firefighters arrived on scene and within minutes of being dispatched were told that one person was still inside the building. The crews found heavy flames and smoke coming from the building. Crews were beginning to extinguish the fire when several oxygen cylinders exploded, slowing down the fire attack.
An occupant of the apartment was found unresponsive in the apartment and the victim was removed from the building where paramedics were waiting to treat the victim. The victim did not respond to the lifesaving efforts of the paramedics. Bloomington Fire Department was assisted by Normal Fire Department in bringing the fire under control and confining the fire to the original apartment.
The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes and heavily damaged one of the four apartments in the building. All of the apartment units sustained smoke damage and Red Cross was called to assist the occupants. Fire Damage is estimated at $50,000-$60,000.
There were no other injuries and it is unknown if anyone else was in the building at the time of the fire. The Cause of the fire is under investigation by the Bloomington Fire Department with assistance from the Bloomington Police Department and the State Fire Marshals office.
McLean County Coroner statement:
“Bloomington Fire Department and Bloomington Police Department were called to the scene of an apartment fire at 308 Robinhood Lane, Bloomington. Responders found a deceased male in the apartment. He was reportedly the only individual in the dwelling at the time of the fire. An autopsy has been scheduled. The release of the victim’s identity is pending notification of family. No further information will be released until following the autopsy.”
NORMAL – The weekend death of an ISU student resulted from hanging, according to the McLean County Coroner’s Office.
Christopher G. Predmore, of Bartonville, was pronounced dead at 5:35 p.m. Saturday in his dorm room located within ISU’s Haynie Hall. Toxicology tests have been ordered and there were no signs of foul play or third-party involvement.
Officials say the manner of death will not officially be determined until toxicology and final autopsy results are received.
Governor-elect Bruce Rauner and Lt. Governor-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti, chairwoman of the transition committee, announced the launch of the transition’s website: www.MakeIllinoisGreat.com.
Individuals who visit the website will be able to apply to serve in the Rauner-Sanguinetti administration and can also submit their ideas to bring back Illinois.
“Making Illinois the most compassionate and competitive state in America is a tremendous challenge, but it is something we can accomplish by building a talented team of individuals who want nothing more than to serve the people and by implementing the best ideas regardless of party origin,” Rauner said. “All we want is what’s best for the people of Illinois.”
“Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, if you want to make Illinois more compassionate and competitive, we want to hear from you,” Sanguinetti added.
PONTIAC - The first public hearing on the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Project in Livingston County felt more like a courtroom proceeding Monday night (Nov. 17).
From the back and forth lawyer bickering to the presence of a sheriff’s deputy, the Pontiac Township High School auditorium had a trial-like atmosphere. During the opening night of the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, Michael Cornale was nominated acting chairman of the group since the chairman recused himself from the matter.
“We try to remain very transparent and open through this process,” explained Cornale. “This is our fourth time through the process and every time we learn a little more.”
Attorney Tom Blakeman presented guidelines for the hearings, which were planned through Wednesday in Pontiac with future locations to be announced. Blakeman reminded everyone that the eventual vote from the ZBA is not a final decision but simply a recommendation as the county board has the final say.
A motion to dismiss the matter, filed by the United Citizens of Livingston County, was denied by Cornale. He asked that all evidence be provided early enough so everyone has access to it.
Kevin Parzyck, vice president of business development at Invenergy, was the first to testify Monday. He shared information on the company, which has placed 46 wind farms into service across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Invenergy has nearly 1,900 turbines operating in the U.S.
“We have the ability to finance and build this project,” Parzyck said.
According to Parzyck, the project has been under development since 2006 or 2007 and 136 General Electric turbines are planned.
During Invenergy’s presentation, the attorney for the United Citizens of Livingston County filed several objections to what was being said.
“The main reason for the objections is just to make sure the process is fair and that it’s on the record as to what process we are going to use throughout the hearing. We will be presenting expert testimony to contradict what Invenergy says and to set the record straight,” Phil Luetkehans said after the meeting.
Invenergy’s attorney, Michael S. Blazer, said Luetkehans is playing lawyer games and Invenergy intends to present a professional presentation.
“This motion that he filed – he knew full well there was no chance whatsoever that would be granted because the ZBA doesn’t have the authority to grant a motion like that. Whatever time he spent and whatever amount he billed his clients was a waste of time and a waste of money.”
ROBERTS - On Thursday, 11-06-14 at approximately 7:45 p.m., Ford County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an armed robbery at the Roberts Quick Stop located at the corner of Weldon and Rt. 54.
Upon arrival, a female attendant reported a white male wearing a mask and hooded sweatshirt came into the Roberts Quick Stop brandishing a screwdriver and demanded money. The attendant complied with the demand and gave the suspect an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect then fled south bound on foot. No one was injured in the incident.
Law enforcement from the Ford County Sheriff’s Office, Gibson City Police K-9, and the Piper City Police, searched the area and located evidence from the robbery. Sheriff Mark Doran believes the attendant did a good job in giving the suspect what he wanted and getting him out of the business as soon as she could. She was very shaken afterword, but did well when she needed too.
Anyone with information of this crime or any others, are urged to contact Ford County CrimeStoppers (217) 784-4173.
Normal firefighters battled a house fire in the 600 block of North Main Street on Tuesday evening.
Fortunately, everyone was able to escape without injury. Normal Fire Department responded to 611 N. Main Street, a single family residence, just before 7:30 pm. Emergency calls from neighbors reported visible flames through the roof of the house and attached garage and that the occupants were evacuating the home. The first arriving engine companies reported heavy fire conditions and began the initial fire attack.
A greater alarm was sounded which called in off-duty Normal firefighters, and requested a Rapid Intervention Team from Bloomington Fire Department. Moments after arriving on scene, another possible structure fire was reported on the west side of Normal. With the majority of resources working at the Main Street fire scene, Bloomington Fire Department assisted Normal and responded with apparatus to that call but reported no fire on arrival and cleared shortly thereafter.
Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack on the fire on Main Street for about 30 minutes before bringing the fire under control. Firefighters remained on the scene for another hour extinguishing hot spots and ensuring that the fire had not spread into hidden spaces within the structure. The home sustained heavy fire damage to the south side garage and porch, the second story, and attic spaces. The remaining structure had significant water and smoke damage.
Damage is estimated at $50,000. The home was occupied at the time of the fire, but all residents escaped without injury. The Red Cross of the Heartland is assisting the residents in securing temporary housing and their immediate needs. At this time, it is unknown if the residents have insurance. Main Street was closed to all traffic between Manchester and Gregory for the duration of the incident. The road has since been reopened to traffic. Normal Fire Department Investigators remain at the scene attempting to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
Bloomington, IL - On 11/11/14 at about 1540 hours Bloomington Police responded to a Hit and Run accident involving a vehicle versus a bicycle in the area of Monroe and Oak Streets.
The rider of the bicycle was transported by Bloomington Fire Department to Advocate BroMenn for treatment.
The skipped vehicle and driver were located a short time later away from the scene. The vehicle, driver, and passengers were brought to the Bloomington Police Department for further investigation and interviews.
PONTIAC - A retired U.S. Army veteran recalled her time in Afghanistan during a Veteran's Day ceremony at Pontiac's Central School Tuesday morning.
Gina Mathia-Bury was a company commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters Company. She retired in 2011 and was a helicopter mechanic. Her branch is Ordinance, which is mechanical maintenance and ammunition.
"Today, we'll join our fellow Americans - neighbors, family, friends, employers - in remembering the service sacrifices of our military men and women and their role in ensuring the freedoms of this great nation," said Mathia-Bury.
While in Afghanistan, she took part in memorial services held each Friday for a fallen comrade.
"Every Friday we said goodbye to another friend. Every Friday we honored another hero going home. Friday in Afghanistan was a day I wanted to forget," Mathia-Bury explained while fighting back tears.
Father David Sabel of St. Mary's Church gave the invocation and blessing.
"Let us remember, before our God today, those who have sacrificed during times of war in order that we might have liberty, freedom and security."
Lindsey Stucknicki performed the Star Spangled Banner while Ann Finnegan sang Sleep Soldier Boy. Honorary mothers were Shirley Wiegers, Ann Legner, Eileen Fahsbender, Mary Barb Wynstorf, Shirley Dunning, Jerriann Byrd and Jeannine Mathia. Escorts were the auxiliaries of the VFW Post 886, American Legion Post 78 and AMVETS Post 115.
Pontiac High School's band provided a musical selection and taps while the 21-gun salute featured the combined color guards of the VFW, American Legion and AMVETS.
The results are in and Republican Bruce Rauner has defeated Democrat Pat Quinn as the next governor of Illinois, although Quinn has vowed not to concede the race until all of the votes are officially counted.
In other statewide races, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White each won re-election. Dick Durbin beat Jim Oberweis in the race for U.S. Senate while Adam Kinzinger beat Randall Olsen for Congress. Also, Aaron Schock won re-election to Congress.
Locally, there were some county board races. In District One for Livingston County, the winners were: Kathy Arbogast, James Carley, William Mays and Marty Fannin. Aaron Galloway fell short and was defeated. For the McLean County Board, Republican Don Cavallini defeated write-in candidate Gerald Thompson.
McLean County voters decided to keep the county auditor as an elected position and the Octavia Fire Protection Tax passed 52-28.