At the regular meeting of the McLean County Board on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, the McLean County Board expressed its appreciation to Ms. Beth Kimmerling for serving as Coroner for McLean County from December 2000 to November 2014. The Board congratulated Ms. Kimmerling, on her retirement.
The County Board acknowledged Ms. Becky McNeil, County Treasurer, and Ms. Michelle Anderson, County Auditor, for receiving the GFOA (Government Finance Officer Association) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
The County approved a Resolution to amend the Rules of the County Board of McLean County in regards to “Appearance by Non-Members.” Some of the changes include:
Requests to appear before that are directly related to an item on an agenda for a County Board meeting shall be submitted not less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the published start time of the Board meeting.
Requests to appear that are not directly related to an item on an agenda for the County Board meeting shall be submitted not less than one hundred and twenty (120) hours prior to the published start time of the Board meeting as which the non-member wishes to appear.
The County Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Bloomington and the County of McLean for traffic signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes Road and Fort Jesse Road.
The County Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Normal and the County of McLean for traffic signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes Road and Raab Road.
BLOOMINGTON - The McLean County Board meets Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the Government Center in downtown Bloomington for its regular monthly meeting.
Reappointments will be made to the Park Lawn Cemetery Association and the board will consider approving a resolution to amend the rules regarding the appearance by non-members and committees. Another item to be considered includes an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Bloomington and McLean County for traffic signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes and Fort Jesse roads. An agreement between Normal and the county will also be considered for signal upgrades at Towanda Barnes and Raab roads.
PONTIAC – The Pontiac City Council is expected to consider a pool and water park feasibility study when it meets in regular session Monday night at 7 inside the Pontiac City Hall on Howard Street.
Also on the agenda is a curb cut request for 1306 Apache Drive, a DCEO grant, FAA agreement and a street department purchase. The group will also consider a peddler license for National 1 Direct and Constellation Energy.
>10-06 a garage burglary and theft was reported in Melvin.
>10-05 a theft was reported from a Cabery residence.
>10-08 a report of a problem with a student was reported at the Tri-Point school in Piper City.
>10-08 a Melvin resident reported the theft of money from his home.
>10-09 a residential burglary was reported in Roberts.
>10-10 a deputy assisted with a landlord/tenant dispute in Melvin.
>10-10 a deputy took a missing persons report in Roberts. That subject was later located and was okay.
>10-12 a vehicle stolen in Benton Illinois was recovered in Kempton.
During the week deputies handled 1 civil matters and issued 10 traffic citations.
>10-08 Jason White of Gardner Illinois was charged with Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia following a traffic stop for speeding at 1425E Rt116.
PONTIAC – The Livingston County Zoning Board of Appeals plans to hold hearings on the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Farm in November.
Hearings are scheduled Nov. 17, 18 and 19 on the application from Invenergy. The first hearing starts at 6 p.m. at Pontiac Township High School. Future hearings could be held at either Prairie Central Upper Elementary in Forrest or at the Walton Centre in downtown Fairbury.
The company wants to install over 130 turbines throughout 30,000 acres of farmland in southeastern Livingston County.
NORMAL - On Sept. 27, the Normal Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration and Youth Advisory Board from Project Oz organized and conducted a Drug Take Back Program at the Normal Police Department.
The program allows citizens to bring unwanted or unused prescription drugs for turn-in and safe legal disposal. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Normal Police received 657 pounds of unused prescription medications. Normal recorded the second highest amount of prescription medications removed from Illinois communities during the statewide event.
The top three participating agencies included police departments from: Champaign, Normal and Pekin. The Normal Police Department recommends utilizing this Drug Take Back Program to dispose of unwanted or unused medications instead of disposing of them by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.
Illinois' economic outlook is one of the worst in the nation.
The American Legislative Exchange Council ranks the state at number 48 in its latest edition of "Rich States, Poor States." The ranking is based on 15 variables, including business tax rates and workers' compensation costs. Illinois' businesses tax rate comes in at number 44, at nine-and-a-half-percent. And the workers' comp payout comes in number 47, at two-dollars-and 83-cents for every 100-dollars in payroll costs.
CHICAGO - In a boost to the Bruce Rauner campaign for governor, the "Chicago Tribune" is endorsing his effort to unseat Governor Pat Quinn.
The paper says Rauner would successfully challenge power brokers who are standing in the way of solving the state's financial and economic problems. The "Tribune" endorsed Rauner in the primary, as well. Rauner's also won endorsements from "Crain's Chicago Business" and the "Daily Herald." Chicago's other major newspaper, the "Sun-Times," ceased making political endorsements in 2012.
10-10-14 (from the Bloomington Police Dept.)
Bloomington, IL - On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at approximately 1853 hours, officers from the Bloomington Police Department responded to the area of Washington Street and Howard Street to investigate a reported shooting.
Officers arrived on scene and located three male victims with apparent non-life threatening gunshots wounds. All three victims were transported by Bloomington Fire Department Rescue to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. At this time no suspect information is available. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Jared Roth at 309-434-2379 or email email@example.com.
If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers of McLean County at (309) 828-1111. If your call leads to the arrest and indictment of suspect(s) you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
10-9-14 (From the Livingston County State's Attorney's Office)
PONTIAC - A Livingston County jury has returned guilty verdicts against Heather Lamie, the foster mother charged in the death of four-year-old Kianna Rudesill.
Rudesill, who along with several other siblings had been placed in the foster-care of Lamie, was transported to Pontiac’s hospital, on the afternoon of May 3, 2011, suffering from seizure-like symptoms. It was determined Kianna had suffered serious head trauma and was experiencing bleeding on her brain. She was then Life-Flighted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where she underwent surgery in an attempt to reduce swelling of her brain. Ultimately, doctors’ efforts were unsuccessful and Kianna was pronounced dead on May 4, 2011. An autopsy determined her death was caused by a subdural hematoma and cerebral injuries due to blunt force trauma.
Lamie was charged in June of 2013 and her trial commenced on September 22, 2014. Following jury selection and eight days of testimony, the jury began deliberations yesterday afternoon and returned its verdics just before noon today. Lamie was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Endangering the Life or Health of a Child.
“I believe the jury followed the evidence and reached the right verdict. There are no winners in a case like this, but it’s my hope that this verdict will help provide some amount of resolution for Kianna’s family. The person responsible for Kianna’s death will now be held to account for her actions,” said Livingston County State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff who tried the case with Kankakee County Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Ripley
Following the verdicts, Lamie was taken into custody and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 21, 2014. Due to the age of the victim, Lamie now faces a mandatory sentence of “natural life in prison” on the First Degree Murder conviction.
The month of September ended up being much colder and wetter than normal. State Climatologist Jim Angel says the average temperature came in at just over 64-degrees.
October is also panning out to quite wet. Some areas in central and southern Illinois have gotten between four and eight inches of rain in the first few days of the month. That's been the trend for most of the year. The extra rainfall has pretty much helped the state escape drought conditions this year.
PONTIAC - It was another busy week for Pontiac if recent tourism visitor numbers are any indication.
Visitors came from 31 states and 23 different countries, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Uraguay.
In the past week, 909 visitors were counted at the Route 66 Museum Complex and 700 people visited the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum.
10-1-14 (from the Ford County Sheriff's office)
PAXTON - At approximately 10:28 Monday morning, a Ford County Correctional Officer found an unresponsive male hanging by the neck from a bed sheet during a routine cell check at the Ford County Jail.
The corrections deputy was able to get the inmate down and CPR was immediately started by Ford County staff members. Paramedics from Gibson Area Ambulance and a member of the Paxton Fire Department arrived at the jail and transported the inmate to Carle hospital in Urbana. As of 2:00 p.m., the inmate remained in the critical care unit at Carle hospital.
At this time, the Illinois State Police has been called in by Sheriff Doran to investigate the incident. No further details are available.
PEORIA, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) District 08 Troopers were joined recently by Troopers from ISP Districts 06, 09, and 14 for Operation Safe Travel.
The operation was geared toward reducing fatalities by enforcing the four most common traffic violations: Speeding; DUI; seat belts; and distracted driving, also known as the Fatal 4. Troopers saturated the area of Interstate 74, specifically focusing on the Morton construction zone area, and participated in a variety of details including speed enforcement, distracted driving, and construction zone details.
Troopers issued a total of 104 citations, with 92 of those being issued for speeding violations. The two highest speeds discovered during Operation Safe Travel were 104 mph and 120 mph in a 55 mph zone. Both of these violations were committed on Interstate 74 eastbound at Gale Avenue. Both offenders were driving motorcycles.
In addition to enforcing the Fatal 4 violations, Troopers also kept a close watch for motorists violating the Illinois Move Over law (also known as Scott’s Law). The law states upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency or maintenance vehicle displaying flashing lights, that the motorist must yield the right of way by changing lanes. If the motorist is unable to change lanes or on a two lane road, they must reduce their speed and proceed with due caution.
Vocal opponents of the proposed Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Project packed into the Prairie Central High School Media Center during the September meeting of the P.C. Board of Education.
The large audience was on hand to hear the board’s approach to the wind farm proposal, even though board members decided not to publicly take a stance on the issue at this time.
“The board really just kind of weighs in symbolically,” Prairie Central Superintendent Dr. John Capasso explained at the start of the meeting.
Some Illinois State University professors of renewable energy were invited to talk to the board about wind farm economics. Dr. David Loomis is an economics professor and director of the ISU Center for Renewable Energy. Technical assistant Matt Aldeman is the lead author of a report on wind farm implications for school district revenue.
According to Loomis, existing wind farms have an economic impact in Illinois with about $13 million annually in payments to landowners. He said the fair cash value for a utility-scale wind turbine in Illinois is $360,000 per megawatt of capacity and is annually adjusted for inflation and depreciation. Aldeman said the net effect of a wind farm is a large increase in revenue for the school district.
“As equalized assessed value in a district goes up, general state aid goes down,” he said. “If you install something that increases the EAV, the general state aid is not impacted for two years after that.”
Aldeman used the Ridgeview School District as an example of a district within a wind farm. Ridgeview’s property tax revenue did not jump up immediately as it took a while to build the Twin Groves Wind Farm in McLean County. The school saw tax revenue of $380,816 in 2008-2009 and $1,848,404 by the 2010-2011 school year.
He admitted there is an overall dip in revenue the year after a wind farm is decommissioned.
Several issues were brought up by audience members during the almost three-hour discussion such as the negative impacts of wind farms, job creation and health implications to the district. Members of the public would often cross-examine the presenters and broke out into rounds of applause when they agreed with certain comments. Many pleaded with the board to take some sort of stance on the wind farm.
“Our biggest concern is children’s health,” stated board member Mark Slagel to a loud ovation from the audience. “That’s my number one concern as a school board member, the health of our students.”
Board member Barbara Schlatter thanked the speakers for attending the meeting and reminded everyone that the two did not come to present information on local health concerns and other issues.
“You’ve done a fine job pointing out the financial implications of what a wind farm does for a school district.”
Fellow board member Jeffrey Austman said the board is not trained to answer some of the questions presented at the meeting.
“The economic benefit for the EAV raising – that’s what we’re qualified to comment on.”
“The short term financial gain definitely appears to be there,” stated board member Corey Steffen, who admitted he had questions beyond that.
Board member Jason Dotterer agreed with the potential financial benefits to the district but wishes the county could address some other concerns surrounding the proposal.
“Ultimately, this is a county board decision.”
Members Ann Steidinger and Patricia Haberkorn also said they have questions which still need to be answered before taking a stance.
“I am not convinced that it is the school board’s role to take a stand on this,” explained Haberkorn, who serves as the school board president.
Superintendent Capasso noted the district’s responsibility to teach kids about energy, as the board has already authorized a small turbine for the district.
“Maybe this is an opportunity to practice what we have already committed ourselves to,” he said.
Capasso pointed to future budgetary challenges and said it is very difficult to dismiss an opportunity such as this. He said schools around Prairie Central are benefiting from wind farms.
PONTIAC - The trial for a woman charged with murder and endangering the life and health of a child will continue in Livingston County Monday morning.
Heather Lamie was charged in connection with the death of four-year-old Kianna Rudesill who reportedly died of blunt force head trauma in May 2011. The young girl died the next day at a Peoria hospital. Lamie, who was Kianna's foster mother, initially called an ambulance for a child suffering from seizure symptoms.
During testimony last week, experts said several bruises were discovered on the child which were consistent with something striking the elbow. A forensic pathologist said the location of the bruises resembled inflicted injury. A counselor and teacher testified they noticed injuries on Kianna.
The Livingston County Public Health Department is now taking appointments for Wellness Clinics, which will be conducted at the health department on Wednesdays, October 1st, 15th and 29th. The Wellness Clinic is open to all adults in Livingston County.
Basic Wellness Clinic services include: blood pressure screening, metabolic syndrome screening, and a blood chemistry profile. This profile includes testing for: all cholesterol levels; glucose level; blood count; and liver and kidney function enzymes. The $35 cost for a basic wellness clinic visit includes all lab fees. Lab results are reviewed by a registered nurse at the health department, and sent to participants within one week.
Additional services available through the wellness clinic at additional fees include: PSA (prostate specific antigen) prostate cancer testing for men - $22; Thyroid (TSH) screening - $20; and HbA1c screening for clients with diabetes - $30.
To make an appointment for the wellness clinic call the Livingston County Health Department at 815-844-7174.
During Tuesday’s McLean County Board meeting, County Administrator William Wasson submitted his recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which will be available for public review and comment.
The appropriate oversight committees will review the recommended budget along with the five year capital improvement budget and the 2014 combined property tax levy. The recommended budget for all funds totals $89,086,335 which is a seven percent increase from the Fiscal Year 2014 adopted budget. Impacts for the overall increase include purchasing new telephone systems for ETSB, an increase in mental health funding and the extension of Towanda-Barnes Road to Raab Road.
According to Wasson, the budget process is based upon equalized assessed valuation growing by 1.78 percent from the previous year for 2014 taxes payable in 2015. Farmland values continue to show strength, but they represent only slightly more than seven percent of the county’s total valuation. Also, residential and commercial construction has begun to reappear after an almost two-year standstill.
In other matters, the McLean County Board:
-Granted a request for an emergency appropriation amending the budget to accept a grant for the coroner’s office from the McLean County Funeral Director’s Association.
-Approved an agreement to re-organize the workforce area with federal grants.
-Authorized an agreement between the McLean County Sheriff’s Department and ISU Police for extra patrols during ISU home football games to assist with crowd control.
-Proclaimed October “Community Planning Month.”