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October 23, 2014, 10:07 am
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The Council Roundup

The Council Roundup, Wednesdays at 10 with Bishop On Air


970 WMAY News Archives for 2012-04

Advocacy Group Seeks Donations To Support Greyhound Station At Local Business

A Springfield transportation advocacy group is soliciting donations to help a local business owner defray the cost of allowing Greyhound to establish a new bus station at his business. 


The group Citizens for Accessible Safe Transportation… or CAST… says Shaner’s Tire and Towing has incurred expenses for a site study, and will have to pay more for upgrades to the site to accommodate city zoning rules regarding the bus traffic. 


Shaner’s is getting paid by Greyhound, but CAST member Jane Ford says it’s not enough right now to cover the expenses, and she hopes donations will help defray the costs and keep the station open for travelers with few other affordable options.

Ryan Gets Another Chance To Appeal Conviction

Former Governor George Ryan will get another chance to appeal his conviction on federal corruption charges. 


The U.S. Supreme Court has directed the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider Ryan’s appeal… based on recent court rulings that restrict applications of the laws used to convict Ryan.  Ryan has served nearly half of his six-and-a-half year sentence on various felony charges related to misconduct while in office.

Report: Accused Lawmaker Will Testify Before Illinois House Committee

A state lawmaker accused of bribery plans to appear and testify before an Illinois House committee that will determine whether efforts to expel him from the House should go forward. 


A lawyer for Representative Derrick Smith tells Illinois Issues magazine that Smith wants to appear before that special House committee to discuss, quote, “where he is and his continued desire to serve and represent the people in his district.” 


But it’s not clear if Smith will directly address questions about federal accusations that he took a seven-thousand dollar bribe in exchange for helping with a state grant application.  That House committee hearing could be held as early as this week.

Health Care Council of Illinois Speaks Out Against Cuts

Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed cuts to Medicaid funding would represent Strike Three against many nursing homes in the state, according to an industry lobbying group.


The Health Care Council of Illinois says Illinois already has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country, and is usually months behind schedule in making payments.


The group says Quinn’s proposal would represent an additional 15-percent cut, and that could force some nursing homes to close. It says the state’s focus should be on tightening eligibility rules and verifying eligibility, rather than cutting funding for providers.

AFSCME: Medical Benefit Subsidy Cut Bad Move

AFSCME says a bill to end subsidies for state retirees’ medical benefits would gut health care for those retired workers.


The state currently pays five-percent of a retiree’s health care premium for each year of service… meaning that a retiree who worked 20 years or more gets free health care. But the State Journal-Register reports House Speaker Mike Madigan is the lead sponsor of a bill to end those subsidies.


The union says retirees depend upon the benefits that the state has promised to them.

McCann Says Independent Challenger Won't Change His Campaign

State Senator Sam McCann says he won’t change his approach to the fall campaign, despite the possible entry of an unexpected challenger.


McCann won the Republican primary in the new 50th District last month and is currently unopposed in the general election. But Bob Gray, president of Springfield’s Citizens Club, is circulating petitions to get on the ballot as an independent.


Gray is a former Republican precinct committeeman, but insists he won’t be under the control of party leaders.


When asked if he thinks Gray is truly an independent, McCann said, quote, “He is what he says he is.”

Scouts Collect Trash on Lincoln Trail

More than 1,000 Boy Scouts have retraced the steps a young Abraham Lincoln took when he walked from New Salem to Springfield to practice law.


Scouts collected trash along the way Saturday, as they trekked the 20-mile scenic route from New Salem State Park to Stuart Park in the state capital.


The pilgrimage wrapped up Sunday with a rainy walk from Lincoln’s Tomb to the Old State Capitol. The annual event was held in conjunction with with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.


The state agency’s interim director, John Kim, says the scouts honored Lincoln by helping clean up the historic trail.

EPA Testing Soil Today

The Illinois EPA is scheduled to collect soil samples today from three lots on Springfield’s East Side.  The soil will be tested to see if it is suitable for use as an urban community garden.


A recent City of Springfield resolution encourages development of such community gardens.  The testing will take place on three adjacent lots on Miller and North Sixteenth Streets.

Nursing Home Group Fights Proposed Medicaid Cuts

Nursing homes say they already have two strikes against them in the way the state of Illinois handles Medicaid payments… and Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed cuts would be Strike Three. 


A nursing home coalition says its members already get the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation… and whatever money the state is supposed to pay often arrives six months or more late.  And the group says if Quinn succeeds in having rates cut even more, it could force many homes to evict some residents, or perhaps go out of business entirely.

McCann Says He's Not Bothered By Prospect Of Independent Challenge

The winner of last month’s 50th District Senate primary says he won’t let the prospect of an unexpected new challenger affect his campaign plans. 


Incumbent Senator Sam McCann beat Springfield prosecutor Gray Noll last month in the Republican primary.  But now Bob Gray, head of the Citizens Club of Springfield, is circulating petitions to challenge McCann as an independent in the November general election. 


McCann says he had planned all along to reach out to voters and make a case for the seat based on his own record, and says that won’t change even if he winds up facing Gray in the fall.  So far, McCann does not have a Democratic opponent in the November election.

THR Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Wages, While Scrambling To Replace Bad Checks

Springfield-based THR and Associates says it was NOT a lack of funds that caused thousands of the company’s checks to bounce in recent days. 


A company spokesman says a local bank abruptly closed one of its accounts without explanation.  As a result, about four-thousand outstanding checks failed to clear.  The company says it has re-established the account at a different bank and is making good on those checks.


Meanwhile, THR has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit in federal court.  The State Journal-Register reports a former employee in Florida claims that THR improperly classified her and other workers as managers or other exempt job classifications in order to avoid paying mandated overtime.  THR says it has not seen the lawsuit yet and declined to comment.

Harris Brothers get Funding from Capital Litigation Fund

A Central Illinois newspaper says a fund has paid more than $500,000 toward the defense of two brothers accused of killing five family members in their Central Illinois home in 2009. The Bloomington Pantagraph obtained the records through a Freedom of Information Act request. Chris Harris and Jason Harris each received more than $250,000 toward their case. The brothers are accused of murdering Ruth and Rick Gee and three of the couple’s children in Beason. The pair are also charged with attempted murder of their 3-year-old daughter, who survived the attack. Funding for the case moved from the Capital Litigation Trust Fund to Logan County when the State of Illinois abolished the death penalty.

Drug Take-Back Saturday

The Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day for Saturday. It’s an opportunity for folks to dispose of their unwanted, unused prescription drugs, so they’ll be safely disposed of. The prior Take-Back in October of 2011 brought in 188 tons nation-wide of unwanted or expired medications. In the last 13 months, law enforcement has removed nearly 500 tons of medicines from circulation through the program. Unwanted medicines can be dropped off at the Springfield Police Department at 2800 Montvale Drive in Springfield, or at the Chatham Police Department at 117 East Mulberry from 10am to 2pm Saturday.

Springfield Company Scrambles To Make Amends After Thousands Of Checks Are Returned


A Springfield company says it was a problem with their bank… not a lack of money… that led to thousands of checks being returned in the past week. 


THR and Associates estimates as many as four-thousand checks… issued to customers, vendors and employees… did not clear after the company’s account at a local bank was abruptly shut down. 


A THR spokesman says the company does not know why the account was closed… but says it was not because of insufficient funds.  He says the company has been contacting people whose checks did not clear and are replacing them with checks from a separate account at a different bank. 


The spokesman says about 90-percent of the affected people have been contacted and getting the money they were owed.


Comment below:



EPA To Test Possible Community Garden Sites

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will be testing several inner-city parcels of land in Springfield… to see if they are suitable for use as urban community gardens.  The testing is the result of a City of Springfield resolution seeking to explore whether more use can be made of land in the city to develop those gardens to grow fresh produce. 


But those parcels of land may contain contaminants left over from years of industrial-type uses.  The EPA testing will determine if there is any soil contamination, and whether the land is safe for growing.  The tests will be conducted Monday on three adjacent parcels of land on East Miller and North 16th Streets.

Little Lotto Game Renamed

A popular Illinois Lottery game is getting a new name.  Starting Sunday (April 30th), the Little Lotto game will be called “Lucky Day Lotto.” 


Lottery officials say there’s nothing little about the seven-day a week pick-five game, which has jackpots starting at 100-thousand dollars. 


In mid-May, the lottery will also launch a new component to the renamed “Lucky Day Lotto” – a game within a game called “E-Z Match” that could allow players to win up to 500-dollars if one of those numbers matches a winning Lucky Day Lotto number.

Johnson: Don't Consider Former Staffers for 13th

There’s a new wrinkle in the contest to see who will replace Congressman Tim Johnson on the November ballot. Johnson now says his former staffers should not be considered for the appointment. That would exclude Jerry Clarke, a former Johnson chief of staff who has been considered a strong contender for the appointment. Clarke says he will continue to seek the nomination. The final decision will be made by Republican county chairmen in the counties covered by the new 13th District.

Springfield's Admin Tow Fees Challenged in Court

A Springfield man whose car was impounded following a DUI arrest has filed a class action lawsuit against the city, saying its policy of impounding vehicles is unconstitutional and violates drivers’ rights to due process. Derek Fulton’s complaint says state law does not permit Springfield to seize vehicles and impose a $500 penalty before the driver has even been found guilty of an offense. The complaint seeks to force the city to refund the fines paid by Fulton and other drivers. The city says it has pulled in more than a million dollars from vehicle impoundments since 20-10.


Read more and see documents here.

Chain Reaction Accident Details

Springfield police say a motorist is expected to recover from the injuries he suffered when he was caught up in a chain reaction crash Thursday afternoon at Veterans and J. David Jones Parkway. Police reports indicate a motorist traveling east on Veterans struck two vehicles and then hit the motorcycle before running off the road and down an embankment. The crash remains under investigation.

Plane Quarantined At Midway Because of Passenger's Rash

Authorities kept passengers on board a plane at Chicago's Midway International Airport for about three hours after one person was suspected of carrying a disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the passenger was evaluated shortly after the flight landed yesterday. The CDC says officials determined the woman's rash wasn't related to monkey-pox, which had been suspected.

More Grandstand Shows Announced

More names are being added to the list of performers for this year’s Illinois State Fair. The State Journal-Register reports headliners will include the Charlie Daniels Band, Creed, and former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato. The 1980’s one-hit wonder band The Georgia Satellites, known for the song “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,” will open for the Cheap Trick/Night Ranger/Blue Oyster Cult concert.

City Sued for Administrative Tow Fee

Image of scan for Qualifying Offenses provided by Springfield Police
Qualifying Offenses: Click image to see full size

A class-action lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court against the City of Springfield has a potential price tag of over one-million dollars.


The suit says an ordinance passed in October of 2010 is “unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional.” It also says the ordinance, which passed in October 2010 violates both the federal and state constitution, unlawfully goes against provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code, and does not provide for proper due process.


Springfield's impoundment ordinance states the vehicle driven by anyone stopped and arrested by Springfield police is impoundable and the owner of the impounded vehicle is subject to a $500 fee along with any additional tow and storage fees. 


Since the passage of Springfield’s impoundment ordinance, just over 2,100 vehicles have been impounded by the Springfield Police Department for varying vehicle, criminal, drug and city code violations.


Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher says 2,116 vehicles were towed and assessed the administrative two fee since September 2010.


Treasure Jim Langfelder says that just around 2,000 vehicle owners have paid the $500 fee to the city for a total of just over $1 million dollars to the city's coffers.


The ordinance in question was passed October of 2010 and requires owners of impounded vehicles are subject to tow charges and storage fees from one of a dozen different tow companies.  Impoundable offenses include criminal, vehicle and even city code violations like being stopped for a second offense of having music too loud.


Vehicle owners who had to pay $500 to the city of Springfield for their vehicle being involved in a criminal offense could get their money, back if the class action lawsuit against the city of Springfield is successful.


The lawsuit suit, filed last month in Sangamon County Circuit Court, says the ordinance violates the Illinois Vehicle Code, and both the Illinois and Federal Constitution for not providing proper due process.

Vision Air Inks Deal With Capital Airport for Myrtle Beach Flights

Myrtle Beach will remain a vacation getaway destination for local flyers. Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport has announced a deal with Vision Air to pick up twice-weekly flights to the South Carolina tourist stop.


The service will begin in late May. The flights were in limbo after the previous carrier, Direct Air, declared bankruptcy and suspended service.


Vision Air has been covering another Direct Air route, temporarily offering flights from Springfield to Florida’s Gulf Coast.


Those flights end this weekend, but airport officials are still hoping to reach a deal for Vision Air to take over the Florida service permanently.

Coalition Signals Huge Job Losses Under Quinn Plan

The Responsible Budget Coalition says Illinois would lose almost 38,000 jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity related to health care under Governor Pat Quinn's plan to cut Medicaid.


Quinn wants to cut Medicaid spending by $2 billion.


Meanwhile, Quinn is still tweaking his pension reform plan, telling several newspaper editorial boards around the state that provisions like a higher retirement age would be phased in, to avoid a mass exodus of workers heading into early retirement to avoid the stricter proposed rules.

Taylor Calls for Discovery Recount in 96th

The candidate who came up just short in the official vote totals for the 96th House District Democratic primary isn’t giving up yet. The State Journal-Register reports Winston Taylor is seeking a discovery recount in more than a dozen precincts in Christian and Macon Counties.


The results could be used to support a call for a full recount in that tight primary race. Taylor came in second to Sue Scherer in the March primary, trailing by just 69 votes out of more than 58-hundred that were cast.

Two Springfield Park Playgrounds Smoke Free

The Springfield Park Board has approved designating two of its largest playgrounds as smoke-free areas. Signs will go up at the playgrounds at Washington and Lincoln Parks.


There is no penalty or fine for non-compliance, but board members hope people will see the signs and refrain from smoking around children using the playgrounds.


The board also approved a new budget that contains raises of three-to-six percent for workers and restores two positions that were eliminated in a round of budget-cutting two years ago.

Schnucks' Plan Spurs More Debate

The announcement of two new grocery stores coming to Springfield was greeted as good news by many people… but one Springfield alderman is not so sure.


Ward 7’s Joe McMenamin is repeating his concerns that the new Schnuck’s stores will simply take business away from existing stores. He says the city should also be careful about using incentives to draw new businesses in to compete with already-established outlets.


So far, the city has talked about creating an east-side TIF district that could make it easier for Schnuck’s to pursue one of those two planned stores.

West Branch Library Sale One Step Closer to Approval

The City of Springfield is proceeding with plans to sell the former Lincoln Library West Branch building. But now whatever money comes in will go directly to the library.


Originally, city officials had planned to return proceeds from the sale to the general corporate fund, but now say the money will support other library programs and services.


Alderman Kris Theilen says he wants to make sure the city does not sell the building on West Washington for a rock bottom price. The city sold its former South Branch facility to a local insurance company for one-dollar.

Springfield's Bishop Set to Review Catholic Policies

Springfield’s Catholic Bishop has been named to a panel that will review and reform the policies of a group that represents the majority of American nuns. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki is an expert on Catholic law, and is one of three bishops that will examine the statements and actions of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group has made statements challenging church teachings on issues ranging from euthanasia to homosexuality to the ordination of women.

Fatal Crash Victim Identified

A 19-month-old girl is dead following a two-car crash at Taylor and Stanford Tuesday afternoon. The coroner’s office identifies her as Zionna Lashay Michelle Powell. She was a passenger in one of the two vehicles. Four other people in the vehicles were injured, at least one seriously. Springfield police are still investigating the deadly crash.

Fire Investigation Continues

The investigation continues into a fire that destroyed a building at a Springfield metal recycling center. That blaze at Mervis Iron and Supplies triggered a couple of small explosions, but no one was injured.


Read more and see video of the fire here

Enos School Makes List Despite Demo Plans

Springfield’s Enos School is now on a list of the state’s most endangered historic sites, even as school district officials make plans to swing the wrecking ball.


Enos Elementary is more than 100 years old, but district officials say it would be too costly to renovate, and instead plan to tear it down once a new school is built on the property.


Landmarks Illinois issues the list each year in hopes of spurring action to save the historic structures.

IDOT, ISP, and Other Call for Awareness in Work Zones

Priscilla Tobias, Dan Carter and Bill Kinney share their thoughts about the campaign
Dan Carter and Terry Fountain talk about work zones throughout the Springfield area

As the temperature rises, so will the number of orange cones across Illinois' roads. Last year the number of fatalities in construction zones was the lowest in four years.


The Illinois Department of Transpiration, along with State Police, labor unions and even private contractors want to take that number down to zero. "Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality" and "embrace the orange" are this years slogans, but for one contractor, it goes beyond what can fit on a billboard or in an add, it's about life or death.


Bill Kinney, president of Kinney Contractors, gets a couple dozen contracting jobs a year from the state to work on Illinois roads. He says this is an important campaign because drivers must be aware while driving through construction zones. It's not just awareness. Drivers must also understand the implications of distracted driving. He remembers one day where an employee of his was hit by a tractor trailer truck driving through a work zone.


If a motorist hits a worker in a construction zone there's a fine of $10,000 and up to 14 years in prison. This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week. Read the writing on the roadways--it's construction season and there are stiff penalties for speeding in construction zones.


The Illinois Department of Transpiration, along with the Illinois State Police, are reminding drivers that road construction work zones are not the places to break the law. ISP District 9 Master Sargent Dan Carter says that motorists will know if they are driving through a work zone. Hitting a worker comes with a $10,000 fine and 14 years in prison.


Priscilla Tobias, State Safety Engineer with the IDOT says knowing you're in a work zone is just part of the awareness. Drivers must also expect changing conditions like work crews, slow moving vehicles, lane shifts, closed lanes and traffic backups.


Last year 21 people were killed on the roads in construction zones. Motorists caught speeding in a work zone can get a $375 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense with a 90 day driving suspension. Work zone speed limits are in place 24 hours a day. This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week.


The number of construction zone fatalities last year was the lowest number in four year, but the goal is zero. A group of contractors, law enforcement and Illinois Department of Transportation officials are teaming up to get the word out about the lethal implications of distracted driving--especially when road construction is ongoing.


Officials with the IDOT say conditions can change everyday like reduced lanes, edge drop offs, and heavy equipment next to moving lanes.  State police are using photo enforcing vans around the state, targeting work zone speeders.

Fire at Mervis Metals

Springfield Fire sprays a blaze at Mervis. Image provided by Fire Chief Ken Fustin

An early Tuesday morning fire at a Springfield metal recycler is under investigation as crews work to knock out hot spots and inspect the damage. 


Springfield fire fighters responded to an extra alarm fire just before sunrise and extinguished the flames using bucket trucks.  Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin says there was an explosion inside the sorting center at the recycler but the fire has been extinguished. 


Fustin says there is no indication this is a hazardous material situation.  No other buildings appear to be damaged.  No injuries reported.


School Board Votes To Redo Busing Proposals

Everybody gets a do-over in the bidding process for a new bus contract for Springfield schools.


The school board voted Monday night to reject all pending bids and start the process over. The decision came after one company, Durham School Services, claimed it had made an error in calculating what it would charge the district, causing its bid to come in higher than that of the existing contract holder, First Student.


First Student asked that its bid of almost 27-million-dollars be accepted, and said Durham should not be allowed to revise its bid after the fact. But the board voted five-to-two to simply start over.

Susan White New School Board President

Susan White is the new president of the Springfield school board. She had served as vice-president for the past year. Outgoing president Bill Looby will replace White as board vice-president.


White’s nomination was approved on a vote of six-to-nothing, with one board member abstaining.


Judy Johnson had engaged in a sometimes heated exchange with White earlier in the evening over the district’s budget crisis.

Unity Summit's Focus on Potential Tensions

If a Trayvon Martin-type incident were to ever happen in Springfield, city officials want to be ready for the tensions that would follow. So a “tabletop training exercise” is planned as part of a daylong Unity Summit next month.


Mayor Mike Houston’s office says the event is a chance for the city and various organizations that combat hatred and intolerance to compare notes and map out the roles they would play if an incident stirs up divisions and resentment in the community.


An “anti-bullying luncheon” is also planned as part of the May 7th event at the Springfield Hilton.

Former Miss America Could Replace Johnson

The search for a new Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District could get a little star power.


The Capitol Fax Blog reports former Miss America Erika Harold is interested in being appointed to the ballot vacancy created when Congressman Tim Johnson decided to drop out of the race.


Harold won the crown in 2003 and has since been an outspoken advocate for sexual abstinence education and pro-life issues.

Crime Victims Ask for Constitutional Amendment

Crime victims and their advocates are pushing for passage of a state constitutional amendment that would toughen protection for victims and ensure that they are informed and given the right to speak if the accused perpetrator is up for bail or parole.


Supporters of what is known as “Marsy’s Law” rallied at Southwind Park Sunday.


Illinois currently has a Crime Victims Bill of Rights in its state constitution, but supporters of Marsy’s Law say the current constitutional provisions are unenforceable and need to be tightened.

Nursing Home Advocates Tour Illinois

A group representing Illinois nursing homes has embarked on a multi-city tour to fight Democratic Governor Pat Quinn's proposed $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts. The Health Care Council of Illinois rallied over the weekend in Chicago and Rockford. Quinn announced his plan for closing a $2.7 billion hole in the health program for needy state residents on Thursday.

Possible Hate Crime Investigation at ISU

Campus police at Illinois State University are investigating a beating that the victim claims was an anti-gay hate crime. The victim, who is openly gay, says he was walking home early Saturday after a party when he was confronted by a group of African-American males. He says one of them knocked a phone out of the victim’s hand, and then they all began beating him and calling him gay slurs. The student was treated for injuries including a fractured jaw and broken teeth. Police have made no arrests, and are looking for evidence to corroborate the victim’s story.

Judge's Password Used For Viewing Porno

The state Judicial Inquiry Board will investigate the use of a judge’s computer log-in and password in an attempt to view hard core pornography on Will County’s computer system. Officials in Will County won’t say whether they believe Judge Joseph Polito was himself responsible for more than 200 attempts to access those sites over a six-month period, but did refer the case to the board in charge of disciplining judges for misconduct.

Cuba Flights Could Come to Chicago

If you’re hoping to travel to Cuba someday, you may be able to fly directly out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The airport has been cleared to allow planes to fly directly to Havana. Previously, any air travel to and from Cuba could only use JFK Airport in New York, Los Angeles International or Miami International. Earlier this year, President Obama announced an easing of travel restrictions, including the addition of more airports that can fly to Cuba.

Lawmakers & Unions React to Quinn's Plan

Governor Pat Quinn's pension proposal is getting a firm ``no'' from major Illinois unions. The ``We Are One Illinois'' labor coalition calls his proposal unconstitutional and unfair to workers. The group said yesterday that Quinn has made it much harder to work out a solution that public-employee unions can support.


Republican leaders in the Illinois Legislature say Governor Pat Quinn's plan to overhaul the pension system has some good points but they're concerned about the idea of shifting some pension costs from the state to school districts. The leaders say that could cost local schools about $1 billion a year.


Supt. Milton Say No Cuts for Sports

Springfield School Superintendent Walter Milton appears to be closing the door entirely on cutting school athletics or extracurricular activities as part of his budget-balancing effort. Milton initially suggested such cuts could come in the next couple of years, but backed away from the idea after a strong public backlash. Now the district has issued a new statement which says such cuts are no longer under consideration.

Geotten Concedes the 13th District

Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten has conceded the Democratic primary for Congress in Illinois' 13th District to Bloomington physician David Gill. Gill had declared victory after unofficial primary results gave him a 143-vote lead, but Goetten initially refused to concede. Now that final results have been certified, Goetten said in a statement that he wishes Gill ``the best of luck.''

Quinn Lays Out Pension Plan

Governor Pat Quinn acknowledges that the state has dropped the ball for years on pension funding, but it’s state workers and retirees who may foot the bill.


Quinn has laid out what he calls a “bold plan” to rescue the state’s public pension funds, which are more than 80-billion-dollars underfunded. Quinn says since the state failed to meet its obligations for years before he took office, he now has no choice but to push for tough and unpopular measures.


Quinn’s proposal includes requiring state workers to pay another three-percent of their paycheck toward their retirement, reducing cost-of-living benefits for retirees and raising the retirement age, and requiring local school districts to pick up a larger share of teacher pension funding.

Heroes Honored by Red Cross

Ordinary people… who have done extraordinary things. They were honored Friday at the annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast.


The Illinois Capital Area Chapter holds the event each year to pay tribute to people who have gone out of their way to help others. Honorees this year include first-grader Brooklyn Sheppard of New Berlin… who sought help after her mother and younger brother were trapped in a car crash.


Also honored were Ray Wiedle, the founder of Land of Lincoln Honor Flight… and Evan Stevens, an airman from Rochester who saved the life of a fellow serviceman after they stepped on a landmine.

Former Chicago Police Chief Indicted

A former suburban Chicago police chief has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Springfield on charges that she bilked the state out of more than a million dollars. 49-year-old Regina Evans turned herself in to face charges of mail fraud and money laundering.


Federal prosecutors say Evans obtained state grants to provide electrical and bricklaying training… but they say she knew all along that little or none of the promised work would be completed.


At least a half-million-dollars of the money was converted to personal use by Evans, according to the indictment. She could face up to 20 years in prison on the most serious of the charges. Her trial date is set for June.

Quinn Proposes Dollar a Pack Tax

Smokers would pay a dollar more per pack as part of Governor Pat Quinn’s plan to put the brakes on Medicaid’s runaway costs.


Quinn also wants to limit some services, crack down on fraud, and reduce payments to medical providers.


But it was the cigarette tax hike that drew the most immediate reaction, with Republican legislative leaders vowing to fight any attempt to raise taxes.


Quinn says his proposal will lead to two-point-seven billion dollars in savings next year… without it, he says Medicaid could be insolvent in five years.

Schweska Pleads Not Guilty

A Sangamon County Board member has pleaded not guilty to a felony theft charge.


Tim Schweska appeared in court this week on charges that he bought thousands of dollars in merchandise for personal use, using a debit card belonging to the Saint Andrew’s Society.


Schweska has repaid the money, but announced that he was dropping his re-election bid shortly after the charges came to light.


After entering the plea, he was released on his own recognizance, his next court date is set for June 7th.

McCann Could Have Independent Challenger

State Senator Sam McCann could face an opponent after all in the November general election.


McCann won the March Republican primary for the newly-redrawn 50th Senate district, a seat for which there was no Democratic candidate. But now the State Journal-Register reports Citizens Club president Bob Gray is thinking about running against McCann as an independent.


Gray is a retired teacher and former Republican precinct committeeman, his son ran unsuccessfully this week to become the new Sangamon County GOP chairman.


Gray would need to collect three-thousand valid signatures by June to get on the ballot.

Train Set for State Fair

The rock band Train will be one of the headline acts in the Illinois State Fair Grandstand this year. The band posted the August 15th show on its website. The rest of the Grandstand lineup is scheduled to be announced on May 3rd.

State of the City--Two New Grocery Stores for Springfield

The boom in grocery store construction in Springfield continues… with Schnuck’s planning to add two stores in the city in the months ahead.


One is planned for Dirksen Parkway and Singer Avenue, near the J-C Penney store. Springfield city officials hope to create a tax increment financing district to help pay for improvements related to the project.


The other new store would go up at Washington and Bruns Lane, and would be the anchor store for a larger retail development there. There is no timeline yet for construction.


Mayor Mike Houston's full State of the City speech

Despite some positive financial trends, the City of Springfield faces significant challenges ahead. That’s the assessment of Mayor Mike Houston in his first “State of the City” address.


Houston says his administration has reduced costs and stabilized the city’s bank accounts. But the mayor says the city will take a hit from the planned closure of the Cook Street mail processing center, and a likely downgrade of City Water Light and Power’s bond rating. And he says the unresolved issue of train traffic through the city remains Springfield’s biggest looming problem.

Women Lead Sangamon County's Major Parties

Women are now in charge of both major political parties in Sangamon County. Republicans have selected Rosemarie Long to be the party's new chairman. Long prevailed over a late challenge from Kent Gray. Meanwhile, Springfield Alderman Doris Turner has been chosen as the new county Democratic chairman. The party also named two candidates to fill vacant spots on the countywide ballot, appointing Kristin DiCenso to run against Circuit Clerk Tony Libri, and Rachel Ralston to oppose Coroner Cinda Edwards.

Man With DUI History Faces Felony Charges After Hit-and-run

A Springfield man with multiple previous DUI convictions is now facing felony charges after alleged striking a motorcyclist with his car and then fleeing the accident scene.


58-year-old Raymond Bentler is accused of aggravated DUI, aggravated leaving the scene of an accident, and driving on a revoked license.


Authorities say he struck and seriously injured motorcyclist Erric Burks Tuesday.


Burks suffered a number of fractures and other injuries in that wreck, and remains hospitalized.

CWLP Employees Disciplined For Tree Trimming Incident

One City Water Light and Power worker has been fired, and two others suspended, over an incident in which city equipment was used on city time to remove a tree from private property, owned by the brother of one of the workers.


The incident was reported by the owner of neighboring property, who said one of the workers later returned to try and dissuade him from notifying the city.


In addition to the fired employee, one worker will serve a ten-day unpaid suspension, and the other will get three days off without pay.


It was not immediately clear whether the workers may attempt to appeal the disciplinary action.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Visits Illinois

During the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Business Lobby Day at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Hotel, unions protested the appearance of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker--a guest of The Chamber. Walker talks about the differences between Illinois and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says his speech in Springfield Tuesday was a message to voters back home, that if they throw him out of office in a June recall election, they could wind up with the same serious budget problems plaguing Illinois.


Walker was invited by the State Chamber of Commerce to talk about his efforts to balance Wisconsin’s budget without raising taxes. Walker says he took steps to limit the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers because they threatened his ability to make tough budget choices.


While hundreds heard Scott Walker’s speech inside a downtown Springfield hotel, a couple of thousand people were outside protesting the Wisconsin governor’s appearance.


Union leaders say Walker slashed education and health care spending, and restricted the bargaining rights of public sector workers, only to give the money to big corporations in the form of tax breaks.


And they note that even with the tax breaks, those companies are not creating jobs, giving Wisconsin one of the worst job creation records in the country.

Changes Coming to County Political Leadership

Changes are coming to both major political parties in Sangamon County. Springfield Alderman Doris Turner confirms that she will seek the Democratic Party chairmanship after being urged to run by a number of supporters. Turner is expected to win the post.


But Republicans could have a fight on their hands for leadership of the county party. The State Journal-Register reports Kent Gray will challenge Rosemarie Long for the party chairmanship.


Long has the backing of Tony Libri, who decided not to seek another term as chairman after top party officials questioned his leadership.

One Minor Injury After Anhydrous Leak

One person suffered minor injuries but did not require hospital treatment after an anhydrous ammonia leak at a water treatment plant near Rochester.


Springfield Fire Department haz-mat crews went into the plant to contain the leak. The situation forced two roads near the plant to be shut down for several hours Tuesday, but did not force the evacuation of any homes.


The plant, which is not yet operational, is a joint effort of Chatham and New Berlin and will eventually provide water to both communities.

Teacher Sentenced Six Years

A veteran teacher at Lincoln Community High School has been sentenced to six years in prison for a sexual relationship with one of his students.


Douglas Benz pleaded guilty to one count as part of a plea deal that included the dismissal of other charges against him.


Benz, who is 45, had been a teacher at the school for 20 years when he started the relationship with the girl, who was a freshman at the time.

Walker Visits Springfield

Today is the day that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker comes to Springfield to lay out his philosophy on getting a state budget under control, and that union members rally in protest outside Walker’s appearance downtown.


Walker was invited by the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, which says Illinois politicians need to hear about Walker’s approach to cutting spending without raising taxes.


But the union workers say Walker’s approach has devastated education and other vital services in Wisconsin, while at the same time taking away collective bargaining rights from public sector employees.

Area Employers Optimistic

Sangamon County employers are feeling optimistic about their own prospects, and about the health of the county economy.


An annual survey conducted by the University of Illinois Springfield and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce finds nearly 40-percent of local employers expect improvement in the local economy this year, double the amount who expect declines.


And business owners feel even better about their personal prospects, close to 50-percent think their own firms will see growth this year, while just 16-percent think they’ll see contraction.

Tea Party Protests Monday

The Springfield Tea Party rallied Monday for their annual Tax Day protest. Fritz Pfister, the master of ceremony for the event, talks with reporters afterwords.

Today is the deadine to file your state and federal taxes… and the occasion led to the annual Tax Day rally put on by members of the Tea Party in Springfield.


Speakers, including 970 WMAY weekend host Fritz Pfister, lashed out at President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule,” which would raise tax rates on millionaires, and criticized other examples of what they call government overreach.


Speakers did not mention Obama’s likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, although most indicate that they will back anyone who can unseat Obama in the November election.

McCann Not Actively Seeking Appointment

Illinois State Senator was a speaker at the Springfield Tea Party rally Monday. He also answered questions about being a candidate for the 13th Congressional District seat being vacated by Tim Johnson.

State Senator Sam McCann says he’s not actively seeking the appointment to replace retiring Congressman Tim Johnson on the November ballot… but he’s not ruling it out either.


McCann skipped a meeting of Republican county chairmen in Bloomington Monday, where they heard from a half-dozen others interested in the appointment.


McCann instead attended the Tea Party Tax Day rally in Springfield, but said he hasn’t withdrawn his name from contention for the 13th Congressional District appointment because constituents have asked him to consider it. The county chairmen will name someone to face Democratic nominee David Gill this fall.

State Police Consider Consolidate Communications Centers

Illinois State Police insist public safety will not be compromised by Governor Pat Quinn’s plan to consolidate 20 communications centers down to just four.


In fact, the agency says one part of the plan – a greater reliance on GPS technology – will actually improve response times by allowing dispatchers to pinpoint the nearest officer to an emergency.


Quinn proposed slashing the number of communications centers in a cost-cutting move. A Springfield center would remain open, but would be responsible for a much larger geographic area.

Unions Plan Tuesday Rally Opposing Walker

It won’t exactly be the Welcome Wagon that greets Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker when he speaks in Springfield Tuesday.


Labor unions are planning a massive protest outside the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel downtown, where Walker is scheduled to speak to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce lobby day event.


The chamber wants to hear about the steps Walker has taken to balance Wisconsin’s budget without raising taxes, but the unions say those steps include deep cuts to education and health care spending, while limiting the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers.

Task Force At UIS Response to Chick Fil-A Protest

A student government group at UIS will form a task force to study on-campus restaurants, a move taken in response to protests over a proposed Chick-Fil-A that has been discussed for a university residence hall.


Some students say the restaurant chain’s executives have promoted anti-gay causes and discriminatory policies, a charge the company denies.


The creation of the task force could delay any move to put a Chick-Fil-A on the campus.

Same Sex Marriage Bill May Stall This Session

The main sponsor of a bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois says it’s unlikely to go anywhere this legislative session. Representative Greg Harris says with pensions and Medicaid dominating the legislative agenda, he doesn’t see much chance to advance the same-sex marriage bill this spring. But Harris still believes the bill will pass, quote, “in the near future.”

Man Drowns After Swan Attack

A worker who was trying to keep geese away from a suburban Chicago condominium complex has drowned, after being attacked by a swan.


Officials say Anthony Hensley was in a kayak on a pond, as part of his job to keep the geese away, when officials say he got too close to a swan… which was also part of the condo’s geese fighting efforts.


The swan reportedly attacked Hensley, who fell off the kayak and went under the water. He was found about 45 minutes later.

Report: States Poor at Tax Break Followup

Most states, including Illinois, are doing a poor job tracking whether their tax breaks for businesses are actually spurring job growth, including some that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into corporate incentive programs even while grappling with record deficits, according to a new report.


The report released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States found that no state regularly takes a hard look at the effectiveness of all of its tax breaks.


Illinois officials say they do require audits from some companies who receive tax breaks, showing that they have created jobs that were promised in exchange for receiving the benefit.

City Parks Could Be Smoke-Free Zones

The Springfield Park Board could soon be actively discouraging, but not prohibiting, smoking near children’s playgrounds in the city’s parks.


The board will vote this month on a proposal to post signs designating the playgrounds as “smoke-free zones.”


But there is no penalty attached for failing to follow the recommendation.


The State Journal-Register reports the idea originated from a Sangamon County Board member, Jen Dillman, who brought the suggestion to the board on her own, not in an official capacity.


Supporters say it will make the park environment cleaner and safer for kids.

Investigation Into Shootings

Springfield Police are investigating a report of shots fired from a vehicle in the 1500 block of South 14th.


Four shots were fired toward a house in the midday incident. Witnesses described a small blue vehicle as the car used in the drive-by shooting attempt.


Police stopped a similar vehicle at 11th and Carpenter but it turned out to be a different car. No on was hurt.


Police also turned out for another shooting incident in the 2200 block of East Cedar but it turned out that ammo of choice was paint-balls.

Man Found Guilty of Sexual Assault

A local man is going to prison for sexual abuse. 35-year-old Aaron Stull was found guilty Thursday of three counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault, and one county of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault.


Stull was arrested in March of last year after an investigation by the Illinois State Police, based on an allegation by minor-aged family member who was a victim, who disclosed an alleged sexual abuse to a school teacher in May of 2010.


Stull’s sentencing is set for June 20th. He’s facing 21 to 180 years in prison.

Burglars Caught Red Handed

Springfield Police respond to a rash of burglaries in the Fairview Park area. Detectives and Neighborhood Police teamed up for a special detail to track down a pair of suspects.


Police conducted surveillance on 17-year-old Dionte Burton and 18-year-old Tori Arnold, who resided in the 1800 block of East Black. Deputy Chief Cliff Buscher tells WMAY news police spotted suspect Burton checking doors in the area and then force entry into a home in the 1700 block of Schrader Wednesday.


Police arrested Burton after a short foot chase. They say he was carrying a bag containing one thousand dollars worth of video games and a video game console. Buscher says they found Arnold hiding inside the home in the 1800 blk of E. Black. He was wanted for Robbery, and a Department of Corrections parole violation for Aggravated Robbery.


Police say both suspects are tied to multiple robberies in the Madison Park Place area.

Overturned Semi Closes Road

A 22-year-old Rushville man suffers non life threatening injuries after his farm tanker truck rolled over on Rt. 125 between Virginia and Beardstown.


State police investigators say Nicholas Vaughn Admitted to taking his eyes off the road for a moment and the truck went off the road. Police say Vaughn overcorrected, sending the big truck on its side.


There was a hazardous materials concern fro a moment but police say diesel fuel remained in the tanker and did not spill on the road. Police say traffic citations could be issued in the case.


The one vehicle accident closed the road for nearly an hour.

Rt. 66 Icon Passes

A local Route 66 icon’s travels are complete. Ernie Edwards, the founder of the iconic Pig Hip in Broadwell, known for its pig hip sandwich, died Wednesday in Lincoln. He was 94.


He moved to Lincoln in his teens and entered the restaurant business at the age of 24. The Pig Hip Restaurant Museum was a popular stop for Mother Road enthusiasts until it succumbed to a 2007 fire.


He is a member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame. Tourists from around the world sought him out during their Route 66 adventures.


Logan County tourism officials are working to restore the pig hip sign as part of a memorial to Edwards.

Bel-Aire Fined For Code Violations

The Bel-Aire hotel has been fined $141,000 dollars for code violations, according to the State Journal-Register.


The notorious Springfield landmark was ordered to pay the fines which include 470 code violations coming in at $300 a piece.


The fines are the result of three-days of inspections spanning from January to March.


City inspectors looked into every room of the 80-room hotel on South 6th Street and found plumbing, electrical and other building violations. The building’s owner has 35 days to appeal.

To The Buses for Amtrak Passengers

Amtrak passengers will be off the tracks and on the buses Monday as work resumes on high-speed rail lines between St. Louis and Chicago.


The passenger line announced the plan to accommodate riders with charter buses as needed. Amtrak also announced they are on pace to hit a record of almost 1.5 million passengers this year.


High-speed rail construction resumes near Alton next week.


Transportation officials have put plan for Springfield on hold as representatives from the city, state, federal governments and railways work on a compromise for increased train traffic through Springfield.

McCann Vying for Johnson's Seat

Another hat has been thrown into the ring for the 13th congressional district seat being vacated by Republican Tim Johnson.


The State Journal-Register reports that Illinois State Senator Sam McCann will take part in a forum with Republican Party leaders in McClean County next week.


McCann recently won the GOP primary for the newly drawn 50th state senate district and is now considered one of eight possible contenders to be chosen by party leaders to replace Johnson on the November ballot for the 13th congressional seat.


Johnson announced his retirement last week after winning the GOP primary in March.

Edwards: Tension Caused From Lack of Communication

If bad blood is brewing between Springfield alderman and Mayor Mike Houston, one alderman suggests it’s because of a lack of communication.


Alderman Frank Edwards says he has only had one or two conversations with Houston outside of city council meetings in the time since Houston took office almost one year ago.


Houston and the aldermen have been clashing recently over issues ranging from an electric rate hike at City Water Light and Power to Houston’s refusal to let aldermen vote on his appointment of a longtime friend to a top management job at the utility.

Man Charged With Injuring Infant

A Springfield man has been formally charged with inflicting critical injuries on his two-month-old son.


Demarco Elbert of Sherwood Street has been held on $500,000 bond since his arrest last week, shortly after his son was taken to a Springfield hospital.


The boy has since been transferred to a hospital in Peoria for treatment. Prosecutors believe Elbert threw the infant.


He is charged with aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony that could bring a prison term of six to 30 years.

Vehicle Crashes Into Museum

Both the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and a driver are going to be OK after a car crashed into the side of the museum Wednesday morning.


State police say a car driven by 62-year-old Thomas Smith was traveling west on Jefferson when it was struck by a southbound car on 7th Street which had run a red light.


The impact caused Smith to lose control of his vehicle, run up onto the sidewalk and into the side of the presidential museum. Smith was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


The exterior of the museum sustained minor damage, but museum operations were not disrupted.


The 71-year-old driver of the other vehicle was ticketed for Disobeying a Traffic Control Device.

EPA Regulations Prompt New CWLP Study

Federal environmental regulations are putting an increased burden on operations at City Water Light and Power, and may force the city to rethink how it generates electricity in the future.


Aldermen will take a final vote next week on a 200-thousand dollar contract for a study to look at whether the city can continue to operate its coal-fired generators, or whether the equipment will have to be modified or shut down entirely.


Alderman Frank Edwards thinks federal EPA rules have gotten out of hand and says the agency needs to be “reined in.”

Power Struggle At City Hall

The city council is considering some limits to Mayor Mike Houston’s authority. Several aldermen plan to introduce an ordinance that would require council approval for city expenditures over 25-thousand dollars.


Currently, the administration can spend up to $100,000 without taking the matter to the city council.


Meanwhile, the city’s corporation counsel is still reviewing whether aldermen can put time limits on how long someone can serve in an “acting” position at City Hall before a city council vote is required.


Alderman Kris Theilen is seeking to impose that limit, Houston has refused to let the council vote on his appointment of a friend and former aide to a 95-thousand-dollar a year management job at CWLP.

First Day of Testimony in McCullough Case

A woman who accused a Seattle man of raping her 50 years ago in Sycamore claims he also let two other men rape her.


The woman was the first witness yesterday in the trial of 72-year-old Jack McCullough. She testified McCullough picked her up in 1962, drove her to an unfamiliar part of town and raped her.

Jury Picked and Given Rules

No ``American Idol'' watching. That's one of the rules for jurors picked to hear evidence in the Chicago trial of William Balfour. Jennifer Hudson is scheduled to perform on the show this week.


Balfour is charged with killing three members of Hudson's family. Testimony starts in about two weeks.

Halfway House Advocates Fight For Funding

About a dozen people have told a state commission that Governor Pat Quinn's plan to close some inmate halfway houses will have disastrous effects.


The speakers included a convicted felon who says a transition center on Chicago's West Side helped him get his life back on track after prison.

Grand Jury Hands Smith Charge

A federal grand jury has formally indicted Illinois State Representative Derrick Smith. Smith accused of taking a $7,000 bribe for writing a letter of support for a daycare center he thought was seeking a state grant. Smith's attorney says the Chicago Democrat isn't resigning.

Ethical Questions Raised in 96th House Race

Despite a state law intended to limit how much money legislative leaders can funnel into campaigns for the Statehouse, 96th House District nominee Sue Scherer got plenty of help from Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan.


The State Journal-Register reports that Madigan was able to go beyond the 75-thousand dollar limit set up under that 2009 state law by giving to Scherer from two funds, one tied to his role as legislative leader, the other one linked to his personal re-election fund.


The transactions are legal under that 2009 law, but ethics watchdogs question whether they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

'The Simpsons' Springfield not in Illinois Says Show Creator

It turns out we’re not the Springfield of the Simpsons after all. Matt Groening, the creator of the cartoon family, now confirms that the animated hometown is loosely based on Springfield, Oregon, not far from where Groening grew up.


Springfield, Illinois has long touted similarities between this real-life Capitol City and the cartoon Springfield. But a national contest tied to the release of the Simpsons movie crowned Springfield, Vermont as the “real” Springfield.

School Board Rejects Proposed Cut During Packed Meeting

The Springfield school board has rejected one of the largest cuts proposed by Superintendent Walter Milton as he seeks to trim more than 4 million dollars from next year’s budget.


Milton wanted to eliminate the administrative intern positions in the city’s middle and high schools, returning those staffers to teaching positions and saving an estimated 630-thousand dollars. But after complaints from a packed house at Monday’s school board meeting, the board voted 4-3 against cutting those positions.


That prompted a warning from board president Bill Looby, who says unless the board finds other, equivalent places to cut, the district will face even more painful and unavoidable reductions in just a couple of years.

Two Republicans Vie For Johnson's Seat

Two potential candidates say they're interested in replacing retiring Congressman Tim Johnson.


The Republican's former chief of staff Jerry Clarke says he's interested in becoming the GOP candidate to run against Democrat David Gill.


Meanwhile, state Representative Adam Brown says he'd like to be considered.

Drugs Shortages on the Mind as Durbin Meets With Hospital Execs

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says most people would be surprised to learn how often hospitals around the country run short or run out of common prescription drugs. Durbin held a roundtable discussion with local hospital executives in Springfield Monday to discuss his ideas for dealing with the growing number of drug shortages, affecting everything from painkillers to chemotherapy drugs to common prescription treatments for indigestion. He is drafting legislation that would require drug companies to give timely notice of looming shortages, so that the government can track the reasons and provide help in finding solutions.

Man Who Fell From Roof Identified

Springfield police say there is no sign of foul play in the death of a man who was found outside his residence Monday morning.


Authorities believe 48-year-old Douglas Wolfe fell off the roof of the apartment building in the 1000 block of South Fourth Street, perhaps hours before his body was discovered.


The incident remains under investigation.

Jury Selection Begins in Murder of Actress's Family

Jury selection has begun in the trial of the man accused of killing actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew.


Fourteen people were picked yesterday to be among 12 jurors and six alternates.


Thirty-year-old William Balfour faces up to life in prison if he's convicted.

No Jury Trial for McCullough

A Seattle man accused in the sexual assault of an Illinois teenager 50 years ago will have his case decided by a judge.


Jury selection was expected to begin yesterday in the case of Jack McCullough, but the 72-year-old said he wants a judge to rule instead.


McCullough also faces unrelated charges in the 1957 death of Maria Ridulph of Sycamore.

Edwardsville Cop Charged in Making Videos of Girls Tanning

A southwestern Illinois police officer is suspended from his job and free on bond after being accused of illegally making cell phone videos of women at a tanning salon.


Prosecutors in Madison County charged 46-year-old Edwardsville police officer Michael Collins with three counts of unauthorized video recording. Each felony alleges he secretly recorded a different woman over a four-day period this month.


Authorities say the case surfaced last Tuesday, when Glen Carbon police were called to Image Sun Tanning Center after a female customer accused Collins of taking pictures over the wall from an adjacent room as she prepared to tan.

Frm. Bears QB Sued by Feds

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is among those being sued by the federal government in connection with a now-failed bank that was at the center of the campaign for President Obama's old U.S. Senate seat.


A person close to the case said Monday the former quarterback is among the seven directors, along with two officers at Broadway Bank, who were sued last month for $104 million.

Police Investigating Shooting Death of Husband and Wife

Decatur police have obtained several search warrants as they continue their investigation of the murder of a husband and wife over the weekend.


34-year-old Freedom Cunningham and his 26-year-old wife Central were gunned down outside their home on Clinton Street. Witnesses say they were shot by two black males, wearing dark pants and dark hooded sweat shirts.


The gunmen were reportedly in a white car with tinted windows. Police have not discussed their theory on a motive for the killings.

Boy Airlifted to Peoria After Gun Incident

Sangamon County authorities say a 7-year-old boy who was hurt in an incident near Salisbury Sunday should recover from his injuries. But the boy has been airlifted to a Peoria hospital for further treatment of his wounds.


He was with a group of people who were firing weapons at targets in a rural area off of Stagecoach Road.


One of the bullets may have ricocheted, but it was unclear if the boy was struck by a bullet or a piece of shrapnel. Police say the shooting appears to be an accident no charges have been filed.

Legislative Hearings on Smith Postponed

Legislative hearings into the conduct of a state lawmaker accused of bribery are on hold.


The special committee appointed to look into Representative Derrick Smith’s actions was scheduled to reconvene this week in Springfield.


But the committee is postponing its work while it waits for additional information from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago about the case.


A federal grand jury is also reportedly reviewing the case, which could potentially lead to additional charges.

Houston Admin Brings Change to Workers' Comp Claims

A top aide to Mayor Mike Houston says changes to the city’s approach to workers compensation haven’t led to big savings yet, but says they are laying the groundwork for lower costs down the road.


Budget director Bill McCarty says the administration is still working through some claims left over from the previous administration. But he says workers comp reforms are changing the “culture” at City Hall, leading to fewer claims as people begin to understand that cases may be subjected to much closer scrutiny.

Clarke Vying for Johnson's Seat

A former chief of staff to Congressman Tim Johnson is kicking off a “campaign” to replace Johnson on the ballot.


Jerry Clarke is making a formal announcement today of his desire to be named to run for Johnson’s seat this fall, after Johnson abruptly dropped out of the race last week.


Clarke is a 46-year-old Sangamon County native and an Iraq War veteran. He previously served as Johnson’s top aide and now works in the same role for Illinois Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren.

Houston: Alderman Playing Politics

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says some Springfield aldermen are out for their own agendas, not necessarily the overall best interest of the City of Springfield.


Houston says, quote, “a number of people on the City Council” are “playing politics” on key issues, which the mayor says makes it tougher to get things done.


But in a live interview on 970 WMAY’s “Jim Leach Show,” Houston declined to say specifically which aldermen he’s talking about. He says their identities should be apparent to anyone who observes City Council meetings.

Johnson Bows Out of General Election

Congressman Tim Johnson says his reasons for dropping his re-election bid are personal, not political. Johnson officially announced Thursday that he will drop out of the race and retire at the end of his current term.


While he says he had every intention of seeking another term when he launched the campaign that led to a Republican primary win last month, Johnson says he no longer wants to miss out on time with his children and grandchildren.


Republican Party officials will have to appoint someone to take Johnson’s place on the ballot.

IL National Guard Unit Comes Home

Another homecoming for an Illinois National Guard unit, and this one has a historical component.


60 members of the 1644th Transportation Company arrived at Camp Lincoln Thursday night, ending a nine-month deployment in which they became the last unit to depart Iraq as the U.S. wrapped up active military operations there last December.


The unit hauled thousands of tons of cargo and equipment around Kuwait and Iraq during its time overseas.

Auditor: FOID Card Flaws

State oversight of gun ownership in Illinois is “limited” in its ability to safeguard the public because of poor follow-through, inadequate collection of mental health records and tardy action on permit applications by “overwhelmed” Illinois State Police officials.


That’s according to a report from the auditor general’s office.  It finds the state police program for issuing and monitoring Firearm Owners Identification cards falls woefully short in gathering court records on potentially mentally ill gun owners, confiscates only 30 percent of the FOID cards that police revoke, and doesn’t report critical information to federal authorities required by a criminal background database.

IL Supreme Court: Gun Case Can Move Forward

The Illinois Supreme Court will allow a challenge to a Cook County assault weapons ban to proceed. The court yesterday ruled that lower courts were wrong to throw out the challenge. The Supreme Court says it wants the trial court to hear evidence on whether assault weapons get the same Second Amendment protections as handguns

Mayor: Appointment Confirmation Will Wait for Guaranteed Votes

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he will bring a controversial appointment before the city council, only when he thinks he’s got the votes to get it approved, and not before.


Houston drew criticism for naming longtime friend and former aide Bob Braasch to a management job at City Water Light and Power. The appointment had been scheduled for a confirmation vote by aldermen, but Houston pulled the ordinance just before that vote, and decided to leave Braasch in the post in an acting capacity.


Appearing live on 970 WMAY, Houston says he will bring the appointment back before the council some day, but only when he thinks it will have enough support to pass.


City officials say there is no requirement that such appointments go before the council within a certain time frame, and say Braasch can stay as an acting manager indefinitely.


A Springfield Alderman may try to force Mayor Mike Houston to bring the appointment of an old friend up for a city council vote.  Ward 8 Aldermen Kris Theilen says he requested the city legal department to write an ordinance to place a six month limit on “acting” positions. 


He turned in that request two weeks ago after the mayor withdrew an ordinance seeking city council approval of Bob Braasch to a $95,000 a year management position at City Water Light and Power.  But Theilen says he’s not sure that such a change can be implemented.

Share the Road With Farm Equipment

It’s planting season which means it’s time for motorists to start looking out for farm equipment on the roads.


The Illinois Department of Agriculture and Department of Transportation say implements on rural roadways will be increasing drastically in the next few weeks – a lot sooner than usual. Statistics show that left-turn, rear-end and passing collisions are the most common types of accidents involving motorists and farm machinery. The departments suggest slowing down when encountering slow moving vehicles, pass with EXTEME caution, and be patient.

Open Board and Commission Positions With County

The Sangamon County Board has announced a few paid appointments to various boards and commissions coming up in June. There are 9 positions coming open for one year terms on the Citizens Advisory Board on Animal Control which pays $50 per meeting, 2 positions for one to three year terms on the Historic Preservation Board, paying $50 per meeting and 2 appointments to the Sangamon County Board of Review, which is a 2-year term, paying $3,500 annually. Interested individuals should send a letter of interest to the Sangamon County Board by May first.

Congressman Who Wins Primary May Retire After Current Term

Just days after he coasted to an easy Republican primary win, Congressman Tim Johnson will reportedly drop out of his re-election race and announce that he will retire at the end of his current term.


Top GOP officials confirm the decision, which Johnson is expected to announce at a news conference in Urbana later today. No immediate reason was given for the decision.


Party officials will appoint someone to take Johnson’s place on the November ballot, that person will most likely face Bloomington physician David Gill, who holds on to a narrow lead in the unofficial vote count from last month’s Democratic primary.

Dist. 186 Supt. Drops List of Possible Cuts

Springfield school superintendent Walter Milton says he is dropping a list of possible future budget cuts for the district, in hopes of reducing confusion over the list.


In outlining possible cuts for the next school year, Milton also included a discussion list of items that may need to be considered for the future… including the elimination of some extracurricular activities, and the closing of Iles Middle School.


But Milton says people have misunderstood the list, so he is taking those items off the table for now. The school board is still considering a long list of potential cuts for next year. Those items will be discussed at a special board meeting scheduled for Monday night at Southeast High School.

Police Report Against Southern View Police Officer


In a story you heard first on 970 WMAY, authorities are investigating a complaint filed against an unnamed Southern View police officer after a woman accused him of propositioning and groping her after a traffic stop.


The report was filed March 27th, shortly before a part-time Southern View cop was fired for failing to follow proper police procedure… but officials refuse to comment on whether that was the officer named in the report.


The complaint alleges the officer asked the woman to perform a sex act, placed her hand on his crotch, and grabbed her breast. The report has been forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s office as a possible official misconduct case, that charge would be a Class 3 felony.


Read more about the report here


Read more about the Southern View Police Officer here

Plan for Bikes on Roads

Local officials are still seeking public comment on a plan to increase the routes available to bicyclists and pedestrians in the major communities of Sangamon County.


The plan now under consideration extends existing bike trails, and attempts to connect the major trails by making roadways more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.


Transportation planner Linda Wheeland says the plan also includes an educational component, to teach motorists and cyclists alike how to co-exist safely on the roads.

Report Implicates Southern View Police Officer in Sexual Assault

970 WMAY News has obtained a police report that alleges a Southern View police officer of official misconduct and sexual offenses filed by two unnamed women.  The heavily redacted and sexually explicit report does not include names but it does say the offending subject is a Southern View Police Officer and what he's accused of is very sexually charged.   


This comes as WMAY learns Zeid Langan, a former Springfield Police officer, was fired last week by the Southern View Police Department for not following police procedure.  Langan quit being a Springfield cop in early 2008 after being investigated for giving a woman money to purchase alcohol after having sex with her at a Springfield park.


The 2012 report


In the recently obtained report from the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office dated March 27th, there are allegations that a Southern View officer proposed sex to two women he had pulled over.  The unnamed officer is also accused of forcing both women to touch his crotch in separate occasions, exposing one woman's chest, and grabbing her breast while she was in the front passenger seat of his police car. 


This all happened within the same morning and stems from a single traffic stop where the unnamed officer flashed his lights at two women in a van, a driver and her roommate. He pulled them over just north of Southern View early that Tuesday morning and told them he was investigating phone harassment case.  


There the officer is allege to have used the squad car's public address system to direct the passenger to his car, where he read her cell phone text messages and made sexual advances while she was sitting in the front seat.  The driver of the pulled-over vehicle remained in the van and was later told to leave after checking several times to see if her passenger was okay with the officer.  The officer offered to take the other woman home and that the driver of the van was free to leave.


After that, the women with the Southern View police officer says the officer made sexual advances and forced her hand on his crotch.  She also alleges he lifted up her shirt and grabbed her breast.  After refusing the advances and requesting the officer's badge number, which he allegedly refused to provide, the police officer dropped her off at a house.  

In the same report, but from the van driver's perspective, the officer dropped the passenger off and shined a light on her from his squad car.  


The driver then approached the officer through the opened passenger door and said "what do you think your [sic] hard shinning a light at me" the report continues "I have neighbor's. [redacted] stated the officer grabbed her right hand placed it on his pants by his penis and said this is hard."


A clip of the redacted letter 970 WMAY obtained from the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department through a Freedom of Information Act Request


The report then says the driver of the van replied to the officer "that's cool I hope your cameras are on".  It indicates he said "don't worry about that."


The Sangamon County States Attorney's office says they are reviewing a police report involving a Southern View police officer but did not disclose the individual's name.  No charges have yet been filed.  The the report obtained by 970 WMAY indicates a what could be a Class 3 felony punishable up to five years in prison.


Langan's time with Southern View


Tuesday, Southern View Law Enforcement Trustee James Foster confirms that Southern View police officer Zeid Langan was fired by the village board for "not following police procedure."  Foster refused to provide any further detail.  Langan was only on the force for a month and was a part-time employee recommended by Southern View Police Chief Kurt Taraba.  


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Long-time Blago Friend Given Two Years

A longtime friend of former Governor Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to two years in prison. Lon Monk's sentencing yesterday came weeks after Blagojevich began serving a 14-year term. Monk had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to testify at Blagojevich's trials.

Village Officials Remain Zip-Lipped Over Cop Firing

Officials in Southern View aren’t saying much about their decision to hire… and later fire… a former Springfield cop who left his previous job under a cloud.


Zeid Langan was hired as a part-time Southern View officer in February, but was dismissed a month later, reportedly for failing to follow police procedure. A village trustee declined to elaborate. The state’s attorney’s office is investigating an incident involving a Southern View officer, but also declined to provide additional details.


Langan spent several years as a Springfield cop, but resigned in 2008 after being accused of engaging in a sex act with a woman outside his squad car in a city park.

Aldermen Express Concerns Over CWLP Spending

There are more questions about City Water Light and Power operations this morning as aldermen increasingly feel the push back from constituents over a recent rate increase.


Alderman Steve Dove says a contractor is questioning the work repairing siding to a CWLP building, a contract worth more than $100,000 dollars, according to the alderman. Dove believes that size contract requires city council approval.


The Ward 9 alderman also says that there are questions about the utility’s hiring practices. He says a CWLP employee brought him information about a financial incentive offered to a prospective employee. That’s something Dove and other aldermen feel is unprecedented are demanding the guidelines for such a practice.


Acting general manager Eric Hobbie says those types of offers have been made in the past for certain jobs but that there are no current offers.


As for the investigation and possible disciplinary action against a utility employee for allegedly using city time to trim a tree on private property, Mayor Mike Houston says they are continuing to investigate and will let the aldermen know the outcome.

Updated Numbers in 96th House Race

Updated tallies from Sangamon and several other counties still show Sue Scherer as the apparent winner of the Democratic primary in the 96th House district.


The official count, including absentee and provisional ballots, leaves Scherer 69 votes ahead of closest challenger Winston Taylor. Taylor has alleged some irregularity in the vote count, but hasn’t said if he will push for a full recount.


The tally must still be formally certified by the State Board of Elections.

Frm. Gov. Edgar Moves Back to Springfield

Former Governor Jim Edgar says people shouldn't read anything into his move back to Illinois' capital city. Edgar left Springfield in 1999 and has been in what he calls ``self-imposed exile'' after leaving office. Edgar and his wife have just moved back to Springfield from Champaign County but he's ruling out a return to politics.

National Guard Unit Coming Back to Springfield

A group of Illinois National Guardsmen is coming back to Springfield this week after being deployed to Kuwait last summer.


The 1644th Transportation Company ran numerous missions hauling equipment and cargo around Kuwait and Iraq.


About 60 members of the unit will return to Springfield Thursday, they’ll be arriving at Camp Lincoln at around 8 p-m.

Rare Photo Obtained by Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has obtained a rare photograph of an African-American man who fought in the Civil War.


The faded photo of Nathan Hughes from around 1900 shows him wearing a medal given to Civil War vets.


The library has one other photo of a black Civil War soldier -- but doesn't know his name.

Another Broadcaster Set to Leave Channel 20

Another veteran Channel 20 broadcaster is leaving the station. Jerry Lambert is retiring after 17 years as the station’s main anchorman.


Even though Lambert has been on the air here since 19-95, he actually maintains a home in Florida and says he’s looking forward to being there full-time and getting to spend more time with his grandchildren.


Meanwhile, the station has hired Ric Kearbey (kirby) to replace Gus Gordon as chief meteorologist. Gordon announced last month that he would be leaving the station after 20 years to take a new full-time job at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Driver of Truck Involved in Multiple Wrecks Identified

Authorities have identified the pickup truck driver that they say was driving drunk when he set off a series of crashes on the northeast corner of Springfield Monday.


37-year-old Joseph Guzouskis is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. One of the crashes left a motorcyclist seriously injured.


Guzouskis is also being treated for injuries he sustained in the multiple wrecks.

EXCLUSIVE: Former Springfield Cop Fired from Southern View Police Department

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Southern View, Illinois

A former Springfield police officer who quit his post amid a cloud in early 2008 has been fired from another local police department.


The village board of Southern View voted last Tuesday to fire Zeid Langan from the police force for not following police department procedure.  
According to Village Clerk Judy Gordon, Langan was a part-time employee still on probation before being let go.  
Langan was sworn in February 29th and let go March 27th.  No further information was available about the nature of his termination.  
Ongoing investigation
970 WMAY News confirmed the Sangamon County States Attorney's is investigating a police report involving a Southern View Police Officer, but would not identify the individual or discuss the nature of the alleged offense.  States Attorney John Milhiser no charges have been filed at this time.  A Freedom of Information Act request has been sent to the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department for that police report.
Langan's time with SPD
Langan has a history working in law enforcement.  He worked for The Springfield Police Department nearly three years from March 2005 to early 2008 when he quit after being investigated for paying a known prostitute for sex.  
The 2008 investigation concluded he gave money to a woman while on duty but was not charged because the money was given to the woman for alcohol, not sex.
The woman sued Langan, then SPD Chief Deputy Ralph Caldwell and the City of Springfield, for $50,000, according to a docket found on the Sangamon County Clerks searchable database (Case: 2009-L-000012). 
Background check?

Southern View Law Enforcement Trustee James Foster says Langan was not hired on from a pool of potential candidates or from a help-wanted advertisement "No, we don't do that."


Foster says Southern View hires police officers through recommendations from "another police officer, the chief or whoever, and that's what we do and that's how we got him and we let go of him because he did not follow procedures."


Case in US District Court

Zeid Langan

Picture taken from Facebook

Langan is also the defendant in a US District Court case where he was accused of violating a man's constitutional rights.  


In that case the plaintiff accused several officers including Langan (then a Springfield Police officer) of arrest without just cause, use of excessive force, and conspiring to violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights.  


US District judge Jeanne Scott dismissed the charges against Langan for arrest without probable cause and conspiracy to restrict the plaintiff's constitutional rights.


However, another filing by Judge Scott denied Langan summary judgment.  Judge Scott says a jury must decide if Langan and another officer used excessive force on the plaintiff because there is no evidence of the defendants side of the story and medical reports indicated the plaintiff has lasting injuries.

"As a result of the beating, Fleck was diagnosed with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left leg, bone bruises, internal bleeding, a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and a complex tear of the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus in his left knee. One of Fleck's treating physicians stated that the damage to Fleck's left knee was permanent."
The plaintiff says he was handcuffed, mace had been used and the plaintiff was compliant when he claims Langan and another officer beat him.  That civil case has yet to be adjudicated.
Southern View Police Department
The village of Southern View has 1,640 people in the most recent census report, according to to the village clerk.  Trustee of Law Enforcement Foster says there are about eight police officers about five of which are part-time and three are full-time.

Contentious Budget Talks Begin With Shakeup

Heading into what could be some of the most contentious budget negotiations ever seen in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn is shaking up his fiscal staff. Quinn has named his senior advisor Jerry Stermer to be acting budget director. The governor says Stermer has been his point person on pension and Medicaid issues, and since those will be the driving factors behind the budget, it makes sense for Stermer to oversee the whole process. Budget director David Vaught is being moved over to become director of the department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Truck Involved in Multiple Accidents

A motorcyclist is being treated for serious injuries after being struck by a pickup truck, one of several accidents involving that truck Monday afternoon.


Police say the truck struck a car at Milton and Ridge but kept going. A short time later, the truck driver allegedly ran a stop sign and hit the motorcyclist. The truck kept going, hitting a parked vehicle and a stop sign before finally coming to a stop.


The motorcyclist was last reported in intensive care at Memorial Medical Center. The truck driver, who was charged with driving under the influence, was also taken to Memorial for treatment.

Security Scare at Colo. Prison Housing Blago

There's been a security scare at the federal prison in Colorado where former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is being held.


Hazardous materials teams were called in Monday after an envelope of white powder turned up in routine mail screening. But prison officials say they've determined the substance isn't dangerous.


A spokesman isn't saying which inmate was the intended recipient.

Patti Blagojevich Sounds Off

Patti Blagojevich has posted a message to Facebook questioning why her husband got a 14-year prison sentence while one of his former aides got 10 days.


The ex-governor's wife is referring to the sentence given last week to former chief of staff John Harris, who cooperated with federal prosecutors and testified at Blagojevich's two trials.


Another former Blagojevich aide, Lon Monk, is scheduled to be sentenced today for his role in the crimes committed out of the governor’s office.

Local Immigration Bust Not Related to National Sweep

The arrests of 19 people on immigration-related charges last week in Springfield are not connected to a nationwide immigration sweep that resulted in more than 31-hundred arrests around the country.


The national effort focused on illegal immigrants with a history of violent crimes, or who had re-entered the country after being deported.


Four of the 19 people picked up at Springfield restaurants last week were accused of illegal re-entry, but a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office here says the timing was just coincidental, and was not part of the national sting operation.


Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn said he's not excited about a proposed immigrant detention center in the suburb of Crete, south of Chicago. But Quinn stopped short of saying he opposes the facility.


Many Crete residents and immigrant rights advocates are fighting the proposed center. It would have up to 700 beds and be privately managed. Supporters say it will create jobs.

Possible Sangamon County GOP Chairman Likes Romney's Chances

The woman that wants to be the next Republican Party chairman for Sangamon County says she is firmly behind Mitt Romney for President now, but admits she only settled on him recently.


Rosemarie Long says she went back and forth among several GOP hopefuls, but says now it’s time to get behind Romney. Long has thrown her hat in the ring to replace Tony Libri as chairman, Libri decided under pressure last week not to seek another term.


It’s not clear yet if anyone will challenge Long’s bid to become the county party chair.

Mega Millions Big Win for Illinois Schools

The growing Mega Millions jackpot that finally produced three winning tickets Friday night has given Illinois schools a boost.


Officials say record lottery sales in the past nine weeks pumped more than $31 million into the fund devoted to public schools.


The identity of the Illinois winner is still not known.

Memo: TRS In Trouble

The director of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System is warning that financial troubles are so great it could be forced to consider reducing pension benefits to teachers who have already retired.


The State Journal-Register reports that it obtained a confidential memo written by Dick Ingram that contains the warning of that politically explosive possibility.

Mega Millions Winners in Illinois

A convenience store in the small Illinois town of Red Bud will get a 500-thousand-dollar bonus for selling one of three grand-prize winning tickets for Friday’s record Mega Millions jackpot.


No one has yet come forward to claim that share of the prize, but we will eventually know who purchased the winning ticket from Illinois.


Illinois had at least one other big winner in Friday's record Mega Millions lottery jackpot. The (Peoria) Journal Star reports a ticket worth $250,000 was sold at a gas station in the city. The ticket matched five numbers, but not the Mega Ball.


The state makes the names of lottery winners public. However, that is not required in Kansas or Maryland, where the other winning tickets were sold. Those purchasers could choose to remain anonymous.

Lawmakers Target Online Dating Site

Illinois lawmakers are trying to make it safer to use online dating sites. Legislation passed last week by the Illinois House would require Internet dating services operating in the state to post disclaimers about background checks. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Letters Show Blago Harsh Boss

Letters written on behalf of a former top aide to Rod Blagojevich say the former governor was “irrationally demanding” in his dealings with staff.


The letters were a factor in a judge’s decision to sentence John Harris to just 10 days in jail for his role in the effort to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat.


One of Harris’s predecessors as chief of staff says Blagojevich once ordered him to fire the entire legal staff for the governor’s office and to hire an unemployed lawyer that Blagojevich met in line at a Starbucks.


The letters urged the court to go easy on Harris, because they say Blagojevich’s conduct made it very difficult for subordinates to stop his excesses.

Libri: Agreement That Long Be New Party Chairperson

Tony Libri and some of his critics in the Sangamon County Republican Party seem to have found something they can agree on, they like the idea of Rosemarie Long as the new party chairperson.


Libri announced Friday that he would not seek another term as party chair, after months of criticism from other party leaders, including County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter and State Senator Larry Bomke.


But those officials both say they could support Long as the new party boss and Libri has also endorsed her. The party will select its new chairman on April 18th.

Lincoln's Death Commemoration Later This Month

The 147th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's death will be commemorated later this month in Springfield. The April 14th ceremony at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is free and open to the public. Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865, and died the next morning.


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