SAUNEMIN – No injuries were reported after a wind turbine caught on fire in northern Livingston County Sunday afternoon.
In this type of incident, firefighters can’t do much more than stand around and watch, according to Saunemin Fire Chief Gary Swartz. The wind energy company Iberdrola was notified of the fire and secured the immediate tower site area in the vicinity of 2200 North and between 2800 and 2900 East roads. They will likely conduct an investigation as there is no word yet on a possible cause.
“It went according to protocols with the wind farm. We train with them on a one or two time a year basis. This followed all the protocols from previous trainings,” Swartz said.
Responding fire departments came from Saunemin, Pontiac, Cullom and Emington-Campus.
According to information from the Iberdrola website, the Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Power Project generates around 300 megawatts of energy near the Livingston County towns of Odell and Emington. When the project reached commercial operation in March 2010, it was supposedly the largest wind project in the state.
(Photo courtesy of Northern Illinois FireGround Photos Facebook page)
Streator Elementary school students recently met with Governor Bruce Rauner and Senators Sue Rezin (R-Peru) and Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
The students were at the Illinois capitol not only to meet their local lawmakers but also get a tour of the statehouse complex in Springfield.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner granted seven and denied 144 clemency petitions. He inherited nearly 3,000 petitions from the previous administrations, dating back more than six years.
The 151 clemency petitions Governor Rauner acted upon today are part of dockets dating back to January 2008. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.
A granted clemency request for a pardon with expungement allows the petitioner to seek expungement of their conviction through the court system.
These are the second set of petitions the governor has reviewed since taking office. The Governor’s Office has developed a process to review clemency petitions on a regular basis.
VFW Post 8350 will hold services at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Guest speaker will be Pastor Chuck France.
Parade steps off from Central School Monday at 10:30 a.m. In case of rain, services will be held inside Central School at 10:30. Service at Southside Cemetery to follow with Marshall of the Day Harold Bull. Speaker of the day is Don Fortna, a U.S. Navy veteran.
Sunny Slope Cemetery is the site for services Monday at 9:45 a.m. An Irish film crew will film a documentary on the life of Albert Cashier (Born Jennie Hodgers). The village is hosting the international guests throughout the Memorial Day weekend.
The Rooks Creek Chapel will be the site of the 131st Rooks Creek Memorial Service starting at 2 p.m. Sunday along Route 116 west of Pontiac. Retired Army Captain John Ahrends will pay tribute to his dad, Larry Ahrends who passed away earlier this year.
Service begins at 7:30 a.m. conducted by the JA Folwell Post 174. The service at Forrest Cemetery begins at 8 a.m. Monday with the National Anthem provided by the Prairie Central High School band.
Monday services will take place at Germanville Cemetery at 8:30; St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery at 9; and the Charlotte Cemetery at 9:45. In case of rain, services will be moved to the American Legion Hall starting at 10 a.m. A brunch will be served by the Legion Auxiliary at the Legion Hall following the services.
Service starts at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Graceland Cemetery with Fr. Scott Archer from St. Andrew Catholic Church giving the address. In the event of rain, services will take place at the VFW Post downtown. The Prairie Central High School band will provide music.
The Cullom Community Building will be the site of the Cullom service starting at 10 a.m. Marsha Haag will give the message. She is a member of the Cullom Auxiliary and serves as the department historian.
In observance of National Safe Boating Week, Illinois Conservation Police officers are reminding boat operators and passengers to wear life jackets and stay sober while on the water this boating season.
Statistics compiled by IDNR Office of Law Enforcement show there were 77 boating-related accidents on Illinois waters in 2014 resulting in 54 injuries and 20 fatalities. During the last five years, Illinois had an annual average of 95 boating accidents resulting in 67 injuries and 19 fatalities.
Illinois Conservation Police officers in 2014 made 159 arrests for boaters operating under the influence, a 38 percent increase in OUI arrests from 2013. Illinois law requires life jackets or life vests be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft. State law also requires anyone under the age of 13 to wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement on the death of U.S. Marine Cpl. Sara A. Medina, a native of Illinois, and the other Marines who were killed in a helicopter crash in Nepal while on a humanitarian mission.
“Cpl. Sara Medina made the ultimate sacrifice while assisting the people of Nepal during their time of crisis, and her death is a loss for the State of Illinois and the nation. Cpl. Medina’s courage and dedication to serving and protecting others makes her a role model for all of us. She will never be forgotten. Diana and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family, and the families of her fellow fallen comrades, during this time of mourning.”
>05-11 deputies assisted Gibson Area Ambulance personnel with a suicidal male in rural Gibson City.
>05-11 a complaint of several subjects wanting to start a fight was received in rural Paxton. The subjects were stopped, interrogated and sent on their way after being identified.
>05-13 a deputy and two Illinois State Troopers assisted Cullom Ambulance personnel with a suicidal female in rural Cullom.
>05-13 a deputy assisted a Paxton Police officer with a theft from Colonial Pantry in Paxton.
>05-13 a deputy responded to a 911 call in rural Piper City that was filled with static. The resident advised he was having phone line problems with his carrier, Frontier Communications.
>05-13 deputies assisted Melvin/Roberts First Responders with a medical call in rural Roberts.
>05-13 deputies assisted the Sullivant Township Fire Dept. with a vehicle fire in Sibley.
>05-14 a residential burglar alarm was received in the Rasmussen Addition to Gibson City.
>05-14 a complaint of neglected horses was received in rural Kempton. The matter will be investigated by the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture.
>05-15 a Piper City resident reported he was notified by his bank of a fraudulent attempt in Roberts to access his bank accounts. No loss was suffered by the Piper City resident.
>05-15 a Cabery resident reported receiving harassing text messages.
>05-15 a dog bite was reported in Piper City.
>05-15 a loud music complaint was received from a Melvin resident.
>05-16 a residential burglary and theft was reported in rural Piper City.
>05-16 deputy assisted a Gibson City Police officer and Gibson Area Ambulance personnel with a suicidal male in Gibson City.
Three miles of the Weston Blacktop are currently closed for a bridge removal and replacement.
The road is closed from County Highway 8, also known as the Ocyoya Road, south to the Livingston / McLean County line also known as 900 North. A detour route is marked but motorists traveling between Pontiac and Fairbury are advised to use the Fairbury Road, or County Highway 6, as much as possible.
The Weston Blacktop will remain open from Pontiac to the Ocoya Road, or County Highway 8. The Livingston County Highway Department anticipates the closure to last approximately three months depending on weather conditions.
Construction started on May 13.
The Illinois AMBER Alert Task Force welcomed Alert GPS as a partner of its AMBER Alert notification system. For over a decade the Illinois AMBER Alert Task Force has worked to create new partnerships and strengthen its capabilities. With this in mind, the Task Force is pleased to announce the addition of Alert GPS’ enhanced notification platform.
Alert GPS provides the alerting technology that allows the Illinois State Police to distribute the notification message in a much quicker and more efficient manner. This free technology is utilized by other state AMBER Alert systems and can easily be shared across state lines.
The Illinois AMBER Alert Task Force is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, the Press Association, the Illinois Tollway, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Lottery, and the National Weather Service to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child.
On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz was only six years old when he disappeared on his way to school. May 25th, the date of Etan’s disappearance, was designated as National Missing Children’s Awareness Day. This date is observed throughout the United States to raise awareness against the threat of child abduction and to educate families about ways to keep their children safe.
The AMBER Alert System is named after nine year old AMBER Hagerman, who was abducted in 1996 while playing near her grandfather’s home in Arlington, Texas. She was later found murdered. In response to community concern, the Texas Association of Radio Managers, with the assistance of Texas’ local area law enforcement, created the first AMBER Plan. All 50 States now have similar plans.
The Illinois State Police have received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) missions throughout the state.
The ISP has spent the past two years developing the program to ensure safety and compliance with all FAA and statutory requirements. As part of the FAA certification process, all aspects of the program have been assessed, including policies, operating procedures, pilot qualifications, training and safety.
The UAS is a small aircraft remotely controlled by a certified pilot at all times while in flight, and can terminate or modify the mission based on changing information or conditions. The primary function of the ISP’s UAS program is to enhance the documentation of traffic crash scenes and crime scenes. The ability to obtain accurate measurements and clear images from aerial photographs will significantly reduce the amount of time highways are closed during the initial investigation of major traffic crashes.
The nature and scope of each mission is determined by specific circumstances and will comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Illinois law allows law enforcement agencies to use a UAS only in certain circumstances, such as natural disasters, searches for missing persons, documenting traffic crashes and crime scenes, or if the Department of Homeland Security identifies a specific risk of terrorism.
The ISP UAS program is not being implemented for surveillance purposes. Except in emergency situations, a search warrant must be obtained before the UAS can be used on private property. During the development of the UAS program, the ISP coordinated with legislators and civil rights groups to ensure privacy concerns were addressed. Use of the term “drone” is intentionally avoided, as it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns, and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information.
Any information gathered by the UAS must be destroyed after 30 days, and must not be disclosed unless reasonable suspicion exists that the information contains evidence of criminal activity, or is relevant to an ongoing investigation. This requirement also applies to information provided to law enforcement by a private third party, even if that information was not solicited by the law enforcement agency.
CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner announced key findings from a state-initiated survey of ten of the state’s foreign trading partners.
Collectively, the nations surveyed have invested tens of billions of dollars in the United States and employ hundreds of thousands of American workers, putting them in unique position to compare the strengths and weaknesses of individual states with which Illinois competes. The nations’ responses provide a policy roadmap to create economic growth and job creation in Illinois.
A summary memo from DCEO can be found online along with the nations’ responses.
Hunters and anglers in Illinois have raised over $700,000 for youth fishing and hunting programs since 2006.
Total donations surpassed the $726,000 mark with license renewals this year. A goal of $1 million could be reached sometime in 2019. When purchasing licenses, people are asked to make a $5 donation for the Illinois Conservation Foundation.
As a charitable partner of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, ICF serves over 6,000 children annually at the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center near Rockford, where kids are introduced to hunting, camping and nature observation.
Youth hunting education around the state includes mentored experiences with deer, turkey, duck, pheasant, dove, goose and squirrel hunts. These hunts are often conducted in partnership with other organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.
Fill a bag. Help feed families.
This is the idea behind this weekend’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive from the National Association of Letter Carriers. Sponsors include the U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO and Feeding America.
People are encouraged to collect and bag non-perishable food items and place those items by mailboxes this Saturday (May 9) for letter carriers to deliver to local food banks or pantries.
With a stationary front over Central Illinois the past few days, it may come as no surprise that more rain is in the forecast for the weekend.
Meteorologist Kevin Donofrio with the National Weather Service says the warm temperatures provide the perfect recipe for pop-up thunderstorms this time of year. Temperatures will warm to the mid-80s Thursday with sunshine before more rain chances Thursday night into Friday.
“It looks like we’ll have on and off periods of showers and thunderstorms. You’ll have a wave Thursday night into Friday and then possibly again Friday night with maybe a little break Saturday night into Sunday, but probably not a very long window,” Donofrio told The Central Illinois Farm Network.
Donofrio doesn’t foresee any real significant drying period until the middle of next week, as we are stuck with on and off wet weather until then. He does anticipate a dry window next Wednesday through Friday.
“Temperatures will be cooler in that pattern, not certainly as warm as we’ve seen, but it looks like kind of a cool and drier pattern.”
Don’t get your hopes up next week though – another wet pattern is possible after that.
[Related: See our video of a stormy sky in Central Illinois on Tuesday afternoon HERE.]
>04-27 deputies assisted Gibson City police officers with the investigation and arrest of subjects involved in an attempted strong-arm robbery.
>04-27 a rural Paxton resident reported someone shot their mailbox with a shotgun.
>04-29 a complaint of an un-registered solicitor was received from a Piper City resident. The solicitor was not able to be located.
>05-02 a deputy recovered a pit bull dog that was running at large on RT9 and returned it to its owner.
>05-02 a complaint of a dog at large in Clarence was received.
>05-02 a complaint of criminal trespass to residence was taken in Elliott.
During the week deputies handled 2 civil matters and issued 18 traffic citations.
>04-27 a Gibson City juvenile rolled his pickup truck at 360N 700E Road. There were no injuries in the crash and the juvenile was issued a citation.
>04-28 a semi driven by Christopher Meurlot of Decatur struck a travel trailer as it turned a corner in Sibley. The trailer was owned by Roger Ford, Jr. of Sibley and was parked and unoccupied at the time of the crash.
>04-26 Nicolas Avalos of Gilman was stopped for Speeding on Rt24 at 1380E. He was then arrested for Driving Under Suspension. He was also ticketed for Operating a Motor vehicle in Violation of D/L Restriction.
>04-28 Brittany Lane of Champaign was arrested north of Elliott on 1000E Road. She was charged with Driving Under the influence of Alcohol. She was also cited for Improper Lane Usage and equipment violations.
The Illinois State Police (ISP), District 8, will conduct Roadside Safety Checks (RSC) in Peoria and Tazewell County during the month of May, according to Commander Mike Welsh.
The ISP has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois. Officers working this detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, transporting open alcoholic beverages, or Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
Alcohol and drug impairment is a significant factor in over 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. RSCs are designed to keep our roads safe by taking dangerous DUI offenders off the road. This project is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Safety.
URBANA - The University of Illinois reportedly spent $30,000 to bring Vice President Joe Biden to campus recently as part of a campaign to reduce college sexual assaults.
The expenses included lumber for temporary bleachers for the appearance last Thursday, according to the Champaign News-Gazette newspaper. Officials claim plans to reuse the material will reduce the net expenses to around $25,000.
A U of I spokesperson said expenses for Biden's visit were covered by the college chancellor's office and no tuition or state money was used.
SPRINGFIELD - A ban on crib bumper pads is once again being considered by Illinois lawmakers along with a proposal to set safety standards for the product.
A bill banning the sale of crib bumpers was approved by House lawmakers along with a separate bill that would not restrict sales but set standards in the state for the crib padding. The padded area is intended to keep infants' limbs from getting caught and to protect them from bumping their heads against the side rails, but some experts warn that crib bumpers can cause infants to suffocate.
A crib bumper ban was endorsed by an Illinois senate committee back in 2014 and Chicago has banned the products. Also, state daycare centers aren't allowed to use bumpers. Lawmakers in the state of Maryland approved a similar ban two years ago.
>04-19 a deputy mediated a domestic argument in Cabery.
>04-19 a 911 call that was all static was received from a rural Piper City residence. The residence was checked and found to be vacant.
>04-20 a deputy mediated a property dispute in Piper City.
>04-21 a residential burglar alarm was received in the Dog Town area of rural Paxton. No cause for the alarm could be found.
>04-21 a report of illegal dumping was taken in Roberts.
>04-21 a Sibley area parent reported his juvenile son had received multiple harassing calls on his cellphone.
>04-22 an unfounded report of a suspicious vehicle in Roberts was received.
>04-22 a report of a battery in Sibley was received. The victim refused to cooperate with the investigating deputy.
>04-22 a Gibson City veterinarian reported suspected animal cruelty that occurred in Guthrie. The case has been turned over the state’s attorney for consideration of charges against the animal’s owner.
>04-23 criminal damage to property and criminal trespass to residence was reported in rural Elliott. A subject had been “squatting” in a vacant residence. That subject is now incarcerated in the Ford County jail for an unrelated charge.
>04-23 a deputy assisted Paxton police officers with a disturbance at Shooky’s bar.
>04-24 a deputy assisted a Gibson City police officer with a domestic report.
>04-25 a 911 call that was all static was received from a rural Roberts residence. The problem was found to be the phone line.
>04-25 a report of possible telephone harassment was received in rural Paxton.
>04-25 several Ford County businesses were checked for alcohol sales compliance. One business sold to an underage buyer while two others properly asked for identification from the underage subject before denying the sale.
During the week deputies handled 1 civil matter and issued 13 traffic citations.
>04-20 Luster Bledsoe, III of Joliet struck a whitetail deer with his vehicle at 3080N Rt115.
>04-23 a vehicle driven by Lawrence Williams of Gary, Indiana ran off the roadway at 1000E 1500N Road. He suffered minor injuries in the crash. Williams was issued a citation for the crash.
>04-21 Mark Zorn, Jr. of Elliott was arrested for a Livingston County warrant.
>04-22 Ryan Thorson of Gibson City was arrested in Gibson City for Violation of Probation and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Officers of the Gibson City Police K-9 units assisted in the arrest.
TAMMS, IL – During the evening of April 21, 2015, the Illinois State Police (ISP) received a call of a man armed with a knife at the H. S. Shelter Care facility in Tamms, Illinois.
Troopers responded and learned the suspect, a male resident at the shelter care facility, was still inside armed with a large knife. The troopers were further informed that other residents, including two victims who had been stabbed, were still inside.
Two ISP troopers and a Village of Tamms police officer made entry into the building and were able to locate and apprehend the suspect without further incident. The 41-year-old suspect was identified as Jule K. Woods.
The two victims were located and taken to an area hospital for treatment. Woods was taken into custody for aggravated battery and is being held at the Tri-County Detention Center in Ullin pending his first court appearance.