State Senator Jason Barickman senses a spirit of cooperation in Springfield during the coming months.
He is hopeful the Republican governor and Democratic-controlled legislature can work together to improve the financial condition of the state.
“That is going to require some give and take from everybody. I think the public wants to see our state become better. I think there is a lot of hope and optimism in the air that there is going to be some cooperation,” Barickman said.
The senator says it is a privilege to go to Springfield and advocate for agriculture and the interests of East Central Illinois as his family has farmed in the area since the 1830s. Barickman believes the nomination of Phil Nelson as director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture is an example of Gov. Bruce Rauner listening to the ag community.
“I think that appointment has been very well-received by the public.”
State Rep. Tom Bennett of the 106th House District calls this an exciting time for Illinois.
“I think there’s some new energy and some anticipation of new things to come,” he said.
Bennett looks forward to finding out committee assignments and hopes to start tackling things like pensions and budgets when lawmakers head back to Springfield this week.
The 106th district is about the third largest geographically in the state. Bennett has two district offices, in Pontiac and Watseka. The Gibson City area native served on the Parkland College board for the last 19 years and has been chairman for three years. He decided to resign from that position on the Parkland board to better serve residents as a state representative.
>01-11 a battery was reported in Melvin.
>01-13 a deputy responded to a reported prowler in rural Cabery. The report was unfounded.
>01-13 a Sibley resident reported an attempted telephone scam.
During the week deputies handled 6 civil matters and issued 8 traffic citations.
>01-13 Sandra Overman of Gibson City lost control of her vehicle while driving at 750E 500N Road. The vehicle rolled over in the crash but no injuries were reported.
>01-13 a vehicle driven by Jacob Wessels of Fairbury struck a vehicle driven by Diane Jones of Sibley. The crash occurred at 1100E and 1200N Roads. Wessels was issued a citation for the crash.
>01-14 Dennis Bowman of Buckley was involved in a single-vehicle injury accident at 975E 800N Road.
>01-14 Ronald Mueller, Jr. of Cropsey struck a vehicle driven by Bradley Tompkins of Gibson City. The crash occurred at 300E and 700N Roads.
>01-16 Noah Rider of Delphi, In. struck a whitetail deer with his car at 1475E Rt9.
>01-17 Eric Melvin of Streator was arrested following a traffic stop in Piper City for Speeding. He was charged with Obstructing Justice, Speeding and he had two arrest warrants from LaSalle County.
>01-17 Bianca Martinez of Piper City was arrested during a traffic stop in Piper City. She was charged with Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Equipment.
CHICAGO - Former Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is again advocating for the merger of the Treasurer’s Office and Office of Comptroller.
“Judy Baar Topinka and I ran in 2010 on the platform of merging the two offices in order to save the state millions annually,” said Treasurer Rutherford. “The so called “Judy Amendment” should move forward.”
Shortly after Dan Rutherford took office as Treasurer in 2011, the Illinois Senate passed SJRCA 13, which would have consolidated the Offices of Comptroller and Treasurer. The amendment did not get called for a vote in the Illinois House.
Last week, the Senate again referred to the Senate Executive Committee a measure to consolidate the Offices of Treasurer and Comptroller. Legislation that is fully supported by Treasurer Rutherford.
SPRINGFIELD - There's a new governor at the helm in Illinois.
Bruce Rauner was officially sworn-in as the state's new chief executive during inaugural festivities in Springfield on Monday. The state's 42nd governor vowed to freeze non-essential spending by state agencies.
"I will ask every agency to review and report on every contract that's been signed since Nov. 1 and I will follow through on my personal pledge to reduce my own salary to $1 and I will decline all benefits."
>12-28 a commercial burglar alarm in Piper City was received. The alarm was an employee error.
>12-29 deputies assisted Paxton Police officers with the arrest of a subject at his Paxton home.
>12-29 a juvenile from Roberts was reported as a runaway. He was located in Ludlow and taken home.
>12-29 a deputy assisted personnel from Gibson Area Ambulance with gaining entry into a residence in rural Paxton where an elderly female had fallen.
>12-31 a deputy and a Gibson City Police officer assisted the Champaign County Sheriffs dept. with locating the driver of a hit and run accident that occurred in rural Fisher.
>01-01 a Melvin man went to the Gibson Hospital Emergency Room for injuries received in a battery that occurred in Melvin. The male refused to co-operate with investigating officers.
>01-01 a deputy assisted a Gibson City Police officer with the arrest and transportation to jail of a Gibson City man.
>01-02 a deputy assisted the Piper City Police Dept. with a verbal argument in Piper City.
>01-02 a deputy, Illinois State Police Officers and a Gibson City Police K-9 unit searched rural Kempton for a suicidal male. He was located and transported to the hospital for evaluation.
>01-03 a battery report was taken in Piper City.
>01-03 a complaint of loud music was received in Piper City.
During the week deputies handled 2 civil matters and issued 4 traffic citations.
>12-29 a vehicle driven by Henry “Art” Kinzinger of Gibson City failed to yield the right of way at 1300E and 500N Roads. He collided with a vehicle driven by Jamie Mirto of Gibson City. Both subjects were transported to Gibson Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
>12-29 Christopher Mounts of Champaign struck a horse with his vehicle at 060N 1000E Road. No injuries were reported inside the vehicle but the horse was killed in the crash.
1-9-15 updated at: 11 a.m.
This week's wintry weather has resulted in a number of accidents throughout Central Illinois.
The above photo, taken on Friday morning, shows a vehicle which had slid off Route 24 between Fairbury and Chenoa. Also on Friday, a semi reportedly rolled over near Downs and there was a weather-related wreck in downtown Bloomington.
McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis is investigating a fatal wreck which occurred near Lexington Thursday morning. The semi tractor-trailer and passenger vehicle collision occurred on Interstate 55's southbound lanes near mile marker 178.
A Northlake, Illinois resident was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed and the results are pending. The incident remains under investigation by the coroner's office and Illinois State Police. Responding agencies included: State Police and firefighters from Towanda, Lexington and Normal.
URBANA - A proposal to freeze in-state tuition for freshmen is being considered by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
This would be the first freeze in over 20 years. A board committee reviewed the idea earlier this week and the recommendation will go before the entire board Jan. 15. If approved, base tuition for in-state freshmen next fall would be the same as it is for the current school year.
Current prices are $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.
GIBSON CITY - Tom Bennett of Gibson City, who has been elected to the Illinois House, announced he will step down as a trustee and chairman of the Parkland College Board of Trustees.
He wants to devote all of his time to his new responsibilities as a State Representative. In a prepared statement, Bennett said it was an honor and privilege to serve on the Parkland board for the last 19 years and he is proud of the progress made for students - especially in the areas of access and achievement.
Bennett will replace Josh Harms for representative in the 106th House District. A swearing-in ceremony takes place this month.
FEBRUARY: WOMAN DIES IN RURAL LEXINGTON FIRE
LEXINGTON – An 83-year-old woman died in a house fire near Lexington.
Officials say Beverly J. Keirsey died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters were called to the single-story structure along McLean County Road 2700 North around 11 a.m.
MARCH: CANDIDATES DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM MEREDITH
PONTIAC – The four men hoping to be the next Livingston County sheriff did more than just outline plans for the department during a candidate forum in Pontiac.
All four distanced themselves from former sheriff Marty Meredith, who resigned following an investigation into alleged misconduct.
MARCH: ISU PRESIDENT RESIGNS
NORMAL – The president of Illinois State University has resigned.
Timothy Flanagan’s resignation was effective immediately. ISU’s board of trustees appointed Flanagan president last May. In a prepared statement, ISU Board Chair Michael McCuskey thanked Flanagan for his service and wished him well in the future.
JUNE: DWIGHT DEALS WITH ‘HEINOUS’ CRIME
DWIGHT – Calling it a sad day for Dwight, the village police chief outlined some of the details of what he called a “heinous” act last summer.
According to Chief Tim Henson, Dwight Police responded to 200 W. North St. in reference to a male subject who had been shot. Upon arrival, police found a male lying on the floor inside the residence. An officer also found two dead females.
NOVEMBER: WOMAN FOUND IN LAKE
HUDSON – An 83-year-old Morton woman who had been missing was found dead in a submerged car at Evergreen Lake.
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.
CHENOA – Things like scuba diving and relaxation are in Dan Rutherford’s future, although the state treasurer does plan to take care of some business once his term ends next month.
“I’ve got some projects on the international scene back in my private sector business. I’ll do a couple of projects around the world – primarily in Asia,” Rutherford said.
The Chenoa republican is not ruling out a return to politics down the road and is not “closing the door” on what the future may hold. He expects to remain active by voicing his thoughts on what needs to be done to make Illinois a better state.
Rutherford touts the success of his Bright Start and Unclaimed Property programs and says he has prepared a detailed transition document for his successor. Rutherford said quite a bit of unclaimed property was returned to people who didn’t know they had it coming.
Rutherford continues to remember his special friend Judy Baar Topinka, the former state comptroller, who passed away recently. He served and campaigned with the fellow republican office holder.
“She was a dear friend and she is one that is going to be sorely missed.”
According to Rutherford, Topinka broke the glass ceiling for women in politics, especially republican politics.
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.