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September 20, 2014, 11:05 pm
Breaking News


The Council Roundup

The Council Roundup, Wednesdays at 10 with Bishop On Air

 


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970 WMAY News

Bond Set At $250K For Suspect Linked To Skeletal Remains


The investigation is continuing, even though a man has now been charged in connection with the skeletal remains found in a shed in Rochester over the summer. 

 

Former local resident Bradley Perkins is being held on $250,000 bond on charges of concealment of the homicidal death of Tracy Trimby.  Authorities believe Trimby was killed in early 2010. 

 

And while Perkins is not currently charged with her murder, State’s Attorney John Milhiser says more charges could be coming… and that there are no other suspects in her death.

Fundraiser Puts DSI Closer To Goal


A fundraiser this week has given Downtown Springfield Inc. a lift as it tries to close a $50,000 deficit. 

 

The State Journal-Register reports the fundraising event Thursday night produced cash and pledges totaling $35,000.  DSI plans another fundraising push next month and will also ask the City of Springfield for help. 

 

The agency… which promotes downtown businesses and events… is in financial trouble after bad weather slashed revenues from major summer events.

 

Quinn: No Backup Plan If Pension Reform Is Ruled Unconstitutional


Governor Pat Quinn says he doesn’t have a backup plan in place if the courts rule that his pension reform law is unconstitutional. 

 

Quinn says it wouldn’t make sense to tell the courts that he has a “Plan B” and give them an opening to throw out the pension law that he championed. 

 

Recent court rulings have suggested Quinn’s pension law could be found unconstitutional… and if it is, the state would find itself in an even deeper financial hole.

 

New Bike Lanes Annoying Some Local Drivers


Frustration is mounting over delays on Second Street, as city crews have revamped the layout of the road, reducing lanes for motor vehicles and adding bike lanes. 

 

Even Springfield Public Works Director Mark Mahoney says he’s been frustrated by the traffic tieups.  But Mahoney says it will get better as traffic signals are retimed… and as drivers get used to the changes. 

 

The work is part of the city’s efforts to become more “bike-friendly.”

Suspect Charged In Connection With Body Found In Rochester Shed


A man is charged with concealment of a homicidal death... and additional charges are possible in connection with the woman whose skeletal remains were found in a Rochester shed over the summer.

 

Bradley D. Perkins is being held on $250,000 bond following his arrest in connection with the death of Tracy Trimby.  She may have been dead for years when her remains were found under debris inside that shed at a Rochester residence.

 

State's Attorney John Milhiser says the case remains under investigation and more charges could be filed against Perkins.  He says there are no other suspects in the case.

Libertarians To Remain on Ballot After Judges Ruling


A slate of Libertarian candidates will remain on the November ballot, after a Sangamon County judge rejected the latest attempt by Illinois Republicans to get them kicked off.

 

GOP attorneys had argued that the Libertarians had not submitted enough valid signatures to qualify… and that the State Board of Elections had made a mistake in allowing them onto the ballot.

 

But Judge Patrick Kelley ruled that there was no evidence that the board’s decision was “clearly erroneous.”

 

There’s no word yet on whether the Republican Party plans to appeal the decision.

Flamini Critical of One-Year Contract for Dist. 186 Teachers


A Springfield school board member who voted “present” this week on a new teachers contract says he did so because he thinks the one-year deal doesn’t show proper appreciation for the work teachers do.

 

Chuck Flamini says the contract… which gave teachers a flat $500 annual raise, along with some increases based on years of service… barely covers the cost of an extra tank of gas each month.

 

On the News/Talk 970 WMAY News Feed, Flamini said he thinks teachers were let down by the school board, and by their own union… and he’s afraid things could be even worse in the next round of contract talks next year.

School Board Member Expects Tough Conversation About Metal Detectors


The Springfield school board is expected to discuss the possibility of metal detectors in the city’s high schools after two incidents in recent weeks of students bringing guns to school.

 

Board member Chuck Flamini says there are some obvious complications with going that route… such as trying to get thousands of students through the machines at the start of each school day.

 

But if one of those gun incidents had taken a turn for the worse, Flamini questions whether the district could say it had done everything it could do to prevent it.

State Senator McCann Files Legislation for CO Detectors in Schools


All Illinois schools would be required to have carbon monoxide detectors, under legislation introduced by State Senator Sam McCann.

 

McCann’s bill comes days after dozens of children and adults were sickened by a CO leak at a school in Girard. Everyone has recovered… and classes resumed Thursday in the North Mac district. But McCann says the incident was very nearly an “absolute tragedy.”

 

Similar legislation has failed to gain traction in the past, but the Girard leak may give it new momentum.

Illinois' Unemployment Rate Down For Sixth Straight Month


Illinois’s jobless rate has fallen again… for the sixth straight month.

 

State officials say August’s rate of 6.7 percent was the best showing since the summer of 2008… before the Great Recession struck.

 

Illinois employers created nearly 14,000 jobs last month. Governor Pat Quinn says the numbers show Illinois’s recovery is on track.

 

But Republican opponent Bruce Rauner says the showing is not enough. He says the state economy should be running on jet fuel… but under Quinn, it’s “struggling along on leaded gas.”

Purveyor of Fake Peoria Mayor Twitter Account Sues City Officials


The man whose fake Twitter account spoofing Peoria’s mayor led to a police raid is now suing… claiming Peoria officials violated his civil rights.

 

Jon Daniel says the Twitter feed… portraying Mayor Jim Ardis as a sex-crazed drunk… was an obvious parody, even though it wasn’t labeled as such, and says therefore it is constitutionally protected speech.

 

Police raided Daniel’s home and sought a warrant on a charge of impersonating a public official, but prosecutors eventually dropped the case.

Sangamon County Judge's Ruling Keeps Libertarians On Ballot


It’s another victory for Illinois Libertarians. 

 

A Sangamon County judge has rejected the latest effort by state Republican Party officials to knock the third-party slate off the November ballot.  The GOP argued that the Libertarians had not submitted enough valid petition signatures, and that the State Board of Elections was wrong to allow the party slate to appear on the ballot.  Judge Patrick Kelley says the State Board’s ruling was not “clearly erroneous.”

 

Some Republicans fear the Libertarians could take votes away from GOP candidates, including governor nominee Bruce Rauner.

Springfield School Board Member Rips New Teacher Contract


The only Springfield school board member who did not vote in favor of a new teacher contract says he found the one-year deal insulting to the district’s educators. 

 

Chuck Flamini voted “present” on the contract, which will give teachers a flat $500 raise and some additional increases for years of service.  Flamini says the contract shows little concern for teachers on the part of either the school board or the teachers union… and says more could have been done for teachers if the contract negotiators had tried harder.

McCann Bill Would Require CO Detectors In All Schools


All Illinois schools would be required to have carbon monoxide detectors, under legislation introduced by State Senator Sam McCann. 

 

McCann’s bill comes on the heels of this week’s carbon monoxide leak that sent dozens of children and adults at a Girard school to the hospital. Everyone has now recovered, but McCann says the Girard incident could have been an “absolute tragedy.” 

 

Similar legislation has been introduced in the past but failed to advance, but the Girard leak is likely to give new momentum to the idea.

Springfield Tourism Bureau To Launch New Marketing Strategy


Springfield’s main tourism promoter is about to launch a new marketing campaign geared at attracting both leisure travelers and those who are putting together business meetings and conventions. 

 

The Convention and Visitors Bureau says its new branding strategy is the result of months of study.  Acting executive director Gina Gemberling says the campaign will emphasize Lincoln but also promote other attractions like local restaurants. 

 

The new campaign will be unveiled next week.

Oversight Boards Working Together Over Future Of ALPLM


There appears to be a cease-fire in the hostilities over the future of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. 

 

The advisory boards for the library and museum and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency say they will work together to identify issues and find solutions in the operation of the complex in downtown Springfield. 

 

The two boards have been at odds over a proposal to take the library and museum away from IHPA and turn it into an independent agency.

Dozens Of Illinoisans Stranded In Mexico After Hurricane Odile


Dozens of Illinoisans may be among thousands of U.S. citizens stranded in a Mexico resort town that was hard hit by a hurricane this week. 

 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s office says he’s been contacted by a number of constituents seeking help in getting their loved ones out of Los Cabos and back to the U.S. mainland.  Durbin says the State Department has made evacuating Americans out of the region a top priority. 

 

He says people seeking assistance can find phone numbers, web page links and email addresses at his website, durbin.senate.gov.

Illinois Jobless Rate Falls Again


Illinois employers created nearly 14,000 jobs last month… helping the statewide unemployment rate to fall for the sixth consecutive month. 

 

The 6.7 percent rate in August is the lowest it’s been since July of 2008. 

 

The Department of Employment Security says the drop… down from 9.2 percent a year ago… represents the biggest year-to-year decline since 1984.

City Zoning Recommends Against Proposed Meat Market/Slaughter House


The Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission has narrowly recommended against allowing a combined meat market and slaughterhouse operation at Stevenson and Stanton… but the final decision will be up to Springfield aldermen.

 

The commission voted 4-3 to recommend denial of a zoning variance that would have let Magro Meats of Auburn slaughter livestock onsite one day per week as part of its planned retail meat business in the former Eagle supermarket. Neighbors say they are concerned about odor, noise, and the operation’s potential impact on their property values.

 

The City Council will make the final decision at its October 21st meeting.

SPD To Test Body Cameras for Patrol Officers


Springfield’s police chief is ready to start trying out body cameras for his officers… and ready to start using them in just about any situation where cops interact with the public.

 

Chief Kenny Winslow says the department plans to borrow some of the portable cameras from manufacturers so that they can be tested during training exercises at the police academy.

 

Winslow says that will show the effectiveness, durability and reliability of the cameras. He tells News/Talk 970 WMAY that he wants the cameras to record most incidents involving police… from traffic stops to domestic disturbances.

 

Mayor Mike Houston hopes to include funding for dozens of the body cams in next year’s city budget.

Springfield Police Describe Presence at City Schools After Two Gun Incidents


Springfield cops are spending more time at and around the city’s high schools these days… following two recent incidents of students bringing guns onto school grounds.

 

Police Chief Kenny Winslow says in addition to off-duty cops hired by the school district, the department sends on-duty officers to schools at the start and end of the day… and conducts periodic checks during the day when time permits.

 

Winslow says officers also look for other opportunities for positive interaction with young people, to encourage them to find better alternatives than guns and violence.

Former Student Allegedly Posted Threats Against School on Social Media


A former Ball-Chatham School District student has been arrested after allegedly posting an online threat against Glenwood High School.

 

The 17-year-old’s name has not been released, but he was taken into custody after another student alerted school authorities to the Twitter post.

 

Officials in Chatham say it was a general threat, but say the former student was never on school grounds and students were not in danger.

North Mac Schools Back in Session, Carbon Monoxide Detectors Installed


School is back in session in the North Mac school district today… and officials there say students are returning to safe schools.

 

It’s the first day of classes since a carbon monoxide leak at the intermediate school in Girard sent more than 130 people to the hospital Monday.

 

Superintendent Marica Cullen says the faulty water heater has been fixed, all other equipment has been checked, and carbon monoxide detectors have been installed at all schools.

 

Counselors will also be available today to talk to any students who may have questions or fears after Monday’s incident.

Waverly Women Arrested, Faces Kidnapping Charges


A Waverly woman is facing a kidnapping charge after taking her child from a caregiver… in violation of court-ordered custody arrangements.

 

The Sangamon County sheriff’s department says Kayla Justice did not have custody or visitation rights with the three-year-old.

 

After being called by the caregiver, police traced Justice to a home in Jacksonville, where she was arrested and the child was recovered.

Rauner Condemns NFL Handling of Players' Domestic Abuse Allegations


Seems like everyone is talking about the NFL and domestic violence… even the candidates for Illinois governor.

 

Republican Bruce Rauner was asked about the league’s recent controversies because he is a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

At first, Rauner declined to comment… drawing criticism from Governor Pat Quinn.

 

Rauner later issued a statement condemning the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice incident… and blasting Quinn for budget cuts that reduced funding to domestic violence shelters.

North Mac Classes Will Resume Thursday; District Says Schools Have Been Declared Safe


North Mac School District officials say students will be returning to safe schools when classes resume on Thursday. 

 

All district schools have been closed since a carbon monoxide leak at the Intermediate School in Girard sickened dozens of students and staff on Monday.

 

A letter to North Mac families says the schools have all been checked and declared safe.  The letter also says counselors will be available to help students who may have been frightened by the experience.

SPD Could Start Testing Body Cams Soon


Springfield police could soon begin testing body cams to see how they would work in day-to-day use. 

 

Mayor Mike Houston wants to equip every officer with the recording devices in the new fiscal year that starts next March.  But police chief Kenny Winslow says the department may borrow some of the devices from manufacturers right away, so that they can be tested during training exercises at the police academy. 

 

Winslow says rank-and-file officers are overwhelmingly in favor of using the devices, although details about how and when they would be used will have to be negotiated with the union.

Police Chief Skeptical Of Claim That Students Brought Guns To School For Protection


Springfield’s police chief isn’t convinced that two high school students who have recently brought guns to school were doing so only for protection. 

 

That was the theory advanced by Superintendent Jennifer Gill after the most recent incident, where a 15-year-old brought a gun to Southeast High last Friday.  Police Chief Kenny Winslow says he can’t discuss the particulars of either case, but says he’s not sure that those actions were strictly defensive.

 

Police are stepping up patrols around the high schools and looking for other ways to connect with teens and steer them away from trouble.

 

Davis: Any Talk Of Ground Troops In Fight Against ISIS Purely ''Hypothetical''


Congressman Rodney Davis won’t discuss what action he would take if the U.S. military mission against the Islamic State terrorist group becomes a ground war. 

 

Despite assurances from President Obama that ground troops won’t be used in the fight against ISIS, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff raised that possibility in congressional hearings this week. 

 

But Davis calls that prospect purely hypothetical, and says he believes U.S. air power and missiles can eliminate the ISIS threat.

 

Ethics Is Latest Battleground In Governor's Race


Governor Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner are trading potshots over ethics. 

 

Rauner has put forward an ethics plan that, among other things, calls for questionable hires at IDOT under the Quinn administration to be fired… and prohibits top state officials from lobbying lawmakers for a year after leaving government. 

 

But Quinn’s camp says Rauner has his own ethics problems, stemming from companies affiliated with Rauner’s GTCR firm. The campaign says Rauner can’t be taken seriously on ethics issues.

North Mac Schools Closed Again For Safety Checks


Classes are cancelled again today in the North Mac School District, as officials continue to check for any other malfunctions like the faulty water heater that caused a carbon monoxide leak Monday.

 

That leak sent 130 students and staffers from the North Mac Intermediate School in Girard to the hospital, although everyone is now recovering.

 

Meanwhile, Springfield District 186 acknowledges that it does not have carbon monoxide detectors in its schools, although buildings with the newest HVAC systems have carbon dioxide detectors.

 

The district also says that systems are checked daily, and the mechanical rooms are sealed.

Juvenile Charge for Teenager Who Brought Gun to Southeast High School


The teenager accused of bringing a gun to Southeast High School last week is currently being charged as a juvenile… although prosecutors could move the case to adult court later.

 

The State Journal-Register reports one factor could be the teen’s prior record… at the time of the gun incident, he was facing charges in connection with the theft of a pickup truck from a local car dealership last month.

 

It’s the second firearms incident at a city school in less than a month.

 

In a separate incident at Lanphier High School, the teen suspect is being tried as an adult.

CWLP Discuss Electric Bill Increase to Avoid Technical Default


City Water Light and Power officials say an increase in customer electric bills might be one way for the utility to avoid its second technical default in less than four years.

 

The utility again went before aldermen Tuesday night to spell out the extent of its electric fund problems.

 

Among the ideas floated is a restructuring of rates and other charges that could push the average residential bill up by 12 dollars a month.

 

The utility needs a combination of new revenue and spending cuts totaling eight-million dollars to avoid a default that could lead to a credit rating downgrade or cancellation of its line of credit.

Houston Defends Infrastructure Record Amid Criticism


Mayor Mike Houston is defending his administration’s track record on infrastructure… but says Springfield residents may have to resign themselves to more flooding problems if the city keeps getting hit by the torrential rains that have become increasingly common in recent years.

 

Houston is objecting to a newspaper editorial that suggested the city needs to get more serious about its sewer problems.

 

The mayor says those problems are being addressed as part of an overall infrastructure plan… but says no system could withstand the kind of downpours that have hit Springfield multiple times in the last few years.

Rauner Would Have Vetoed Medical Cannabis Law If Governor


Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner says he would have vetoed the state’s medical marijuana bill if he had been governor when it passed.

 

But Rauner says it’s not that big an issue to him, and thinks there are more important priorities.

 

But his comments have drawn fire from the bill’s legislative sponsor. Democrat Lou Lang calls Rauner’s comments “heartless” and “appalling.”

 

Meanwhile, Rauner is still critical of the secrecy in the medical cannabis law… saying it’s allowing politically-connected people to seek licenses without being subjected to public scrutiny.

Fracking Rules Deadline Delayed by Legislative Committee


There’s been another delay in approving state rules governing hydraulic fracturing… but a pro-fracking group isn’t bothered by the latest snag.

 

A legislative committee has put off action for 45 days… and is directing the state Department of Natural Resources to tweak the rules to make sure they comply with the fracking law approved last year.

 

Fracking supporters say DNR’s first draft of the rules imposed too many restrictions on an industry that they hope will create jobs and provide more energy independence.

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