>02-15 an Elliott resident turned in drug paraphernalia and cannabis found on their property.
>02-15 a commercial burglar alarm was received from the Farmers Merchant Bank of Melvin. The alarm was an employee error.
>02-15 deputies responded to a reported suicidal female in Piper City.
>02-16 a dispute between juveniles in Elliott was reported.
>02-18 a residential burglar alarm was received in the Dog Town area of rural Paxton. The alarm was caused by a family member.
>02-19 a deputy assisted a Gibson City police officer with the transportation of his arrestee to the Ford County jail.
During the week deputies handled 2 civil matters and issued 10 traffic citations.
>02-17 Rick Flessner of Roberts reported that he had been involved in a minor one-vehicle accident in Roberts.
>02-20 Rafael Juan of Rantoul lost control of his vehicle at 915N 1300E Road while driving on three tires and a rim. The vehicle ended up in the ditch at that location.
>02-17 Mark McCoy of rural Piper City was arrested on a Ford County warrant.
>02-20 Rafael Juan of Rantoul was arrested following an accident investigation at 915N 1300E Road. He was charged with Driving under Revocation, Illegal Transportation of Alcohol and Operating an Uninsured Motor vehicle.
>02-21 Collin Movern of Piper City was arrested for Possession of Cannabis following a traffic stop in Piper City.
>02-21 Caroline Meyers of Elmhurst Illinois was arrested for Possession of Cannabis following a traffic stop in Piper City.
>02-21 Pedro Ramirez of Piper City was arrested for Probation Violation when he tested positive for the use of illegal drugs in a urine sample requested by a Ford County Probation officer.
McLean County Coroner Dr. Kathleen Davis is releasing the following information regarding the death of Nathaniel Tutko, 32, of Bloomington, Illinois that was involved in a single-vehicle crash that occurred on Monday, February 16, 2015 in Colfax, Illinois.
At 0829 hours of Monday, February 16, 2015, McLean County Coroner’s Office received notification that a male was involved in a motor-vehicle collision. At 0930, Mr. Tutko was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the sole occupant in the vehicle.
An autopsy was conducted. Preliminary autopsy findings indicate that Mr. Tutko’s death is due to blunt force trauma to chest and abdominal injuries due to motor vehicle striking a fixed object (tree). Toxicology results are pending. This incident remains under investigation by the Illinois State Police and the McLean County Coroner’s Office.
McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis is releasing the following information with regard to the young woman found deceased in rural Heyworth on February 18, 2015:
Kalie Easton, last of Bloomington, was pronounced deceased at 1144 am on February 18, 2015. An autopsy was performed on February 19, 2015 at the Mclean County Coroner’s Office. Preliminary results indicate that Miss Easton died from non-natural causes. Forensic toxicology tests have been ordered.
The investigation into her death by the McLean County Sheriff’s Office and the McLean County Coroner’s Office continues.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call Detective Cory Beverlin at 309-275-8389.
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner outlined a budget on Wednesday which improves public safety, boosts education funding and restructures the core costs of state government.
Rauner spoke of the need to eliminate conflicts of interest in state government and to “end our broken system.”
“We must institute major reforms, or whatever balanced budget we craft this year will be undone in the years ahead by the special interests that make their money from the government and pay politicians to spend more,” he said.
The address also referred to Rauner’s top priority for financial reform which is the pension system. The budget gives employees hired before 2011 a choice to take a buyout option, which is a lump sum payment and defined contribution plan, in return for a voluntary reduction in cost-of-living adjustments.
“It’s time to empower our workforce and address one of the biggest fiscal challenges we face,” said Rauner.
The governor also outlined plans to reduce local government funding, although the reduction in local government sharing in the budget is equal to just 3 percent of their total revenue, according to Rauner.
Rauner’s proposal also reduces Medicaid costs significantly while maintaining eligibility levels for most lower-income Illinoisans. He also called for increased funding for the state’s youngest citizens, calling it “the smart and compassionate thing to do.”
The budget also increases K-12 education funding by $300 million.
The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal wants to encourage residents to take a proactive approach to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.
Carbon Monoxide causes sickness and can lead to death if not detected. Taking some simple preventative measures can help keep families safe. State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says the poisoning can be prevented by simply having working CO alarms in each household.
During 2013 in Illinois, 11,481 carbon monoxide-related incidents were reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System. According to the Illinois Carbon Monoxide Alarm Act, every dwelling unit should be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. This includes structures that contain more than one dwelling unit.
FORREST - St. Paul Lutheran Church in Forrest has announced the 12th Forrest Growing Project, part of the Foods Resource Bank, has raised $35,023.
The money was raised by local farmers and landowners donating crops and by individual and corporate donations. This year, 29 1/2 acres of crop was donated by 28 farmers. While St. Paul Lutheran sponsors the Growing Project, farmers from several denominations are actually involved.
Urban partnerships with the United Church of Christ in Plainfield and St. Matthew's Church of Christ in Wheaton also contributed financially to the project. The Foods Resource Bank is a Christian-based program that promotes self-sufficiency by providing seeds, tools, training and other essentials to poorly equipped people in under-developed countries. The goal of FRB is to provide individuals with the resources for feeding themselves in the future.
Hennepin, IL – Communities in and around Putnam County will soon see more jobs with good wages and see a boost to their local economy, thanks to IPS Steel out of Michigan purchasing the old Hennepin Steel Mill.
Action on the site is already taking place. This week, there is an on-line public auction for old spare parts, excess tools, etc. That will allow for clean-up and demolition of buildings that have been determined to be inefficient to begin next month.
“It took a lot of work from a number of people to get this site sold and begin the revitalization, and that’s a big reason why it’s so rewarding,” State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) said. “The Hennepin Steel Mill was a huge asset for this area before it closed. Now, Hennepin and the communities around this region can look forward to this site becoming an economic and jobs engine again.”
Cement pads and other valuable infrastructure will remain at the site, including a power station, barge dock, and extensive rail track. Norfolk Southern determined the track in and around the site is in good condition, despite having been not used for years, which should help revitalization at the site move quicker.
“Some of the buildings are no longer cost efficient to heat or cool as well as maintain,” said Kishan Sutariya, Project Manager for IPS Steel. “We are going to remove those and leave all the cement pad so we can build more efficient buildings back on top. Our vision for this site is to have multiple businesses sharing all the resources that it has to offer.”
“The rail track condition is great news for any current tenant or future manufacturer, transload, or warehouse storage company who is interested in the site. We are looking forward to the completion of clean up and ready for phase two,” Marci Duro, the Executive Director and CEO Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development said. “This multi-use industrial complex is a fantastic site and investors are excited about its future.”
Duro also says IPS Steel has inquired about purchasing a used locomotive to move train cars to the loading dock and inquired about the cost of adding a rail that goes to the river dock location.
“I am thankful IPS Steel also realized the value in the two remaining employees from ArcelorMittal, as they were hired by IPS Steel and have been great resources to make the site valuable again,” Duro said.
“From the closure of the Hennepin Steel Mill to today, Marci Duro has been instrumental in getting IPS Steel to Putnam County,” Rezin said. “In 2010, she immediately realized the remarkable facility Hennepin offered and began actively marketing it. She has worked tirelessly with my office and other local officials to recruit IPS Steel to Putnam County. I am thankful for her hard work and look forward to what the site will become.”
The old Hennepin Steel Mill site offers several assets to a future manufacturer, transload, or warehouse storage company. Three interstates are close by (I-80, I-39, I-180), there is immediate rail access, immediate river access, dual feed electricity, natural gas is accessible on site, local community colleges with industrial programs, and a quality workforce.
“Any future investor or company would be lucky to find three of these assets in one location,” Rezin said. “What I am most proud of is our local workforce. Our people in and around Hennepin work hard, are incredibly knowledgeable, and are very excited about making the old steel site a huge asset to the area again.”
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association announces that it will be awarding over $53,000 in college scholarships throughout the State of Illinois to students wishing to purse higher education during the 2015 – 2016 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 2015 – 2016 school year (excluding summer session).
Applications are now available at your local Sheriff’s office or on the internet @www.ilsheriff.org. Students must complete the application; answer the essay question and return all documentation the Sheriff’s office in their permanent county of residence by March 15, 2015.
For more information, please contact your local sheriff’s office, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, high school advising or college financial aid office.
Governor Bruce Rauner has signed Executive Order 15-13 eliminating what his office calls unfair share dues for state employees who do not wish to fund government union activities and positions with which they may disagree.
The governor’s actions come after an extensive legal review of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Harris v. Quinn. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act violated the First Amendment by forcing certain state employees to involuntarily pay fees to a labor union.
In light of that decision, the Rauner administration has concluded that the so-called “fair share” provisions of the current collective bargaining agreements, that are similar to those invalidated by the Supreme Court in Harris v. Quinn, are also unconstitutional.
“Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers. Government union bargaining and government union political activity are inexorably linked,” Governor Rauner said. “An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights – and something that, as governor, I am duty-bound to correct.”
The executive order allows state employees who wish not to support government unions’ activities to stop paying the forced fees. It has no impact on those employees who wish to remain paying members of the union and fund union activities out of their paychecks.
Governor Bruce Rauner has announced this year’s recipients of the Order of Lincoln, which is the state’s highest honor for professional achievement and public service.
“This year’s recipients of the Order of Lincoln have helped make Illinois and the world a better place,” Gov. Rauner said. “The work they have accomplished is admirable, and it is our privilege to honor them. Mr. Lincoln would be proud.”
This year’s recipients are:
Arthur H. Bunn, CEO of Bunn-O-Matic Corporation -- Bunn is a civic and philanthropic leader in Springfield; and a member of one of Illinois’ pioneer families, whose great-great-grandfather opened a grocery store in Springfield 170 years ago, with Abraham Lincoln as one of his first customers.
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme -- Cousin heads the world’s largest humanitarian organization, serving 97 million beneficiaries in 80 countries. “My mission is simple,” she has said, “to end hunger in my lifetime.”
J. Roland Folse, surgeon and founding chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine -- Dr. Folse served on SIU-School of Medicine’s faculty for more than 30 years, and the Folse Endowed Chair of Surgery has been established in his honor.
Sara Vaughn Gabbard, nationally recognized Lincoln Scholar and Executive Director of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana -- Gabbard, a native of Lincoln, is entrusted with a prized collection of Lincoln artifacts, and has devoted her professional career to increasing the nation’s knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and the times in which he lived.
Gary Slutkin, Founder and Executive Director of Cure Violence -- Dr. Slutkin’s innovative program has worked to reduce shootings and killings, and Cure Violence now has 52 program sites in 23 U.S. cities and eight nations of the world. He is a professor of epidemiology and international health at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, where he seeks to treat violence as he would seek to reverse epidemic disease outbreaks.
W. Russell Withers, Jr., Broadcaster – Posthumous Honor The award will also be presented posthumously to one of the last of a vanishing breed of broadcasting pioneers, the Founder of Withers Broadcasting Companies which operates six television stations and 30 radio stations in Illinois and across the Midwest. Prior to his death, Mr. Withers provided leadership to a wide range of civic, professional and charitable organizations including his chairmanship over many years of the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation.
The Order of Lincoln will be presented at the 51st Annual Convocation of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in the chamber of the Illinois House of Representatives in Springfield on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The Order of Lincoln was established by the Governor of Illinois in 1965, and the Lincoln Academy of Illinois -- an independent, non-partisan organization -- was created to administer the award and to choose the annual award recipients.
Following the award presentation on May 9, 2015 a gala reception and dinner in honor of the 2015 recipients will be held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. Funds raised at the dinner will be used to provide Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Scholarships to one student from each of the 56 four-year colleges and universities in Illinois and one student representing the state’s community colleges.
The students are chosen by their college presidents on the basis of academic achievement and community service. The ceremony and short interviews with the honorees will be converted into a PBS documentary to be shown on all PBS stations across Illinois later in the year.
CHICAGO - Illinois State Police (ISP) officials are investigating a shooting that occurred near the Shell gas station located at 55th and Wells, next to the Dan Ryan Expressway at 8:55 p.m., Saturday, February, 7, 2015.
An ISP trooper identified an occupied stolen vehicle at the Shell gas station through a license plate check. The trooper initiated a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Shell gas station. The trooper attempted to make contact with the sole occupant, the front seat passenger, a 17 year old male juvenile. The suspect passenger exited the stolen vehicle and fled the scene on foot. The trooper chased the suspect in a foot pursuit for approximately 1000ft north on Wells, during which time the suspect fired a single shot at the trooper. The trooper returned fire once. The suspect fell to the ground and was taken into custody by the trooper. The suspect's gun was recovered. No injuries were reported as a result of the gun fire.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office was contacted and approved charges of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer, Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle and Aggravated Assault. The suspect was transported to Cook County Juvenile Detention and will appear for a bond hearing on Monday, February 9, 2015.
The identity of the driver of the stolen vehicle is still pending investigation. No further information is being released at this time.
Governor Bruce Rauner has an expanded partnership between the State of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) with Casey Family Programs.
“The State of Illinois is faced with the immediate, difficult task of addressing the issues and the short-comings of our child welfare system. To help us accomplish this, we need to bring in the best of the best,” Gov. Rauner said. “Casey Family Programs is one of the most respected and well-known child welfare foundations in the country. I’m excited to announce it has agreed to expand its partnership with us and provide additional resources, expertise, and know-how to help us address the needs of the children and families we serve.”
Casey Family Programs has been partnering with the State of Illinois since 2009 on multiple projects by providing resources and technical assistance to support new supervision and program models, as well as, provide support around Illinois’ innovative federal demonstration waiver focused on research-based alternatives to long term foster care. The new, expanded partnership will initially cover three key areas, including reforms to residential care, new practice models to assist with child safety decision-making assessments, and support the creation and expansion of data capabilities.
“We are pleased to assist the State of Illinois in finding better ways to support vulnerable children and families,” Dr. William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs said. “This collaboration allows us to support practices and policies that safely reduce the need for foster care, strengthen families, and increase the safety and success of children.”
In the coming weeks, Casey Family Programs’ team will be meeting with DCFS staff and leadership to complete a full assessment of the agency, and further clarify additional needs and strengths.
About Casey Family Programs: Casey Family Programs is the nation's largest operating foundation focused solely on safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for vulnerable children and families across America. Founded in 1966, we work to influence long-lasting improvements to the safety and well-being of children, families and the communities where they live. For more information visit: www.casey.org.
Numerous Illinois lawmakers and elected officials have released statements in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner's first ever State of the State speech in Springfield this week. Here is what State Sen. Sue Rezin had to say:
“A much different tone was heard today than what the people of Illinois are used to from previous governors. It was a tone of brutal honesty but also a tone of tremendous optimism. I appreciated Governor Rauner’s State of the State speech because it’s about time our state leaders acknowledge the overspending that has occurred, that jobs are leaving, people are moving out, and our economy is lagging. All that starts to change this year, and today’s speech from the Governor is that first step. I believe his road map is a good one. It’s one that will get our state on its fiscal footing. It’s one that will help families, especially those in the middle class. It’s one that makes helping our businesses and creating jobs a priority. It’s one that makes education a priority. It’s one that will make our state better for our children and grandchildren. It’s clear, the new administration is bringing fresh eyes and a new perspective. No more smoke and mirrors. I am excited to take our state in a different direction."
In the above left photo, State Rep. Terri Bryant (left) and State Senator Sue Rezin (right) listen to Governor Rauner’s State of the State speech.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Energy’s decision to end federal funding of FutureGen, the public-private clean coal project in Meredosia, Ill.:
“We are thoroughly disappointed in the Administration’s decision to hastily end the bipartisan FutureGen project. This decision will block advancements in clean coal and more than 1,000 new jobs in Central Illinois. We will not give up on this state-of-the-art technology and bringing new jobs to the state.”
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment in conjunction with the Senate’s commemoration ceremony.
“The 13th amendment has so much significance to our nation’s history and Illinois’ history. In 1865, Illinois led the effort and was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. It is an important date in our history and something we should never forget. Today we remember all of the sacrifices made by so many to create equality for all. We, as the great State of Illinois, must continue to lead the country to achieve freedom, liberty and justice for all.”
As snow came down for most of the day Sunday, the ground was covered with several inches of the white stuff in Central Illinois.
According to IDOT, many of the state's major highways and interstates were snow covered and slick throughout the day. There was a report of an accident on Interstate 57 near Champaign which blocked traffic and someone was cited with driving too fast for conditions. Many local churches cancelled Sunday services and several towns and counties issued traffic crash and parking advisories.
The winds late Sunday created some blowing and drifting snow, impacting some people's plans for Super Bowl parties. The National Weather Service issued some blizzard warnings for counties in the northern Illinois where visibility was close to zero at times.
1-30-15 updated at: 10:45 am
FORREST - A one-story home in Forrest was damaged by fire Thursday morning.
The cause of the blaze in the 400 block of North Beech Street is under investigation, according to Strawn Fire Chief Todd Freehill. The fire was mainly contained to the home's basement area although there was some smoke damage elsewhere in the structure.
No one was home at the time of the fire so there were no injuries reported. Responding agencies came from Forrest, Strawn, Chatsworth and Fairbury.
A post on Facebook Friday morning explained the situation involving the Turner family and encouraged anyone wanting to help the family out to donate gift cards. Also, clothing for the children would be appreciated.
A semi rollover which occurred Thursday night blocked traffic on Route 24 between Fairbury and Forrest for a while and the highway was still down to only one open lane by late Friday morning.
State Police District Six in Pontiac said the truck's cargo was being unloaded on Friday and moved to another truck as crews worked to clear the accident scene. A State Police spokesman was unsure of injuries involved with the crash but did confirm there were no fatalities involved.
Hunters in Illinois harvested almost 146,000 deer during the various deer hunting seasons during the fall and winter.
Of the deer taken, 47 percent were does and 53 percent bucks with the most harvested during the popular traditional firearm season.
Chris Young from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says they will take a look at the numbers to see if any changes need to be made for next year. The number of harvested deer this year is about 2800 less than the number taken last year in the state.