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August 1, 2014, 9:26 pm
970 WMAY News

SPD: Zero Indication of Another Pipe Bomb Incident Won't Keep Them From Downtown This Weekend


Police say there is zero indication another pipe bomb could surface, but that won’t stop them from looking out for suspicious devices in downtown Springfield this weekend.

 

The Downhome Music Beer and Art Festival is expected to bring large crowds downtown Friday and Saturday.

 

It’s the first downtown event since a pipe bomb was found on E. Washington Monday.

 

Deputy Police Chief Dan Mounce says police will be vigilant this weekend to spot any potentially dangerous devices.

 

The investigation into Monday’s pipe bomb is ongoing.

Palazollo: Campaign Finance Committee for Mayoral Bid to Grow


More names will be added soon to a mayoral candidate’s Campaign Finance Committee.

 

Paul Palazollo says the 25 names on the committee right now are not official endorsements, but people like former Mayor Karan Hasara and former State Senator Larry Bombke will be involved in seeking out donations for the mayoral bid.

 

When it comes to campaign donations that could hint at a conflict of interest, Palazollo says he doesn’t want to speak in hypothetical but says he won’t be beholden to anyone making donations to his campaign.

Native American Man Tries to Settle Discrimination Suit Against State Over Sling Bow


An Illinois man suing the Department of Natural Resources for discrimination says he offered to settle but the state wasn’t interested.

 

John Huffer, also known as Chief AJ, says the state is discriminating against his modified sling shot because he’s Native American.

 

He says that became evident after the state refused to accept engineering reports saying his sling bow was strong enough to kill big game.

 

A federal judge gave the Illinois Attorney General’s office until Monday to respond to the suit.

Kincaid Mayor Trial Gets Postponed Until September


The embattled mayor of Kincaid will get more time to work out a defense after a trial was postponed Thursday.

 

The State Journal-Register reports that Mayor Doug Thomas’ defense attorney argued that the misconduct charge filed June 10th is different than the order of protection and possession charges that kicked off the case in February.

 

A Christian County Judge agreed to postpone the jury trial until September 15th.

 

Thomas will stand trial for misusing public resources as well as two counts of possession of a controlled substance in addition to a violation of an order of protection.

Five Injured in Accident Involving Passenger Vehicle and Two Semis


Five people are recovering from non-life threatening injuries after a passenger vehicle collided with two semi-trucks on I-55 Thursday morning.

 

The passenger vehicle carrying a family of five was headed onto the off-ramp of the highway at the Clear Lake exit when their vehicle was struck from behind by a truck.

 

That collision sent the vehicle into the trailer of another truck.

 

The family of 5, ages 5 to 26, were taken to Memorial Medical Center.

 

Charges are pending a crash investigation.

American Idol Tryouts at the First Friday and Saturday of State Fair


You could be a star on American Idol with a chance to tryout at the Illinois State Fair.

 

During Thursday’s media preview day fair manager Amy Bliefnick says the final pieces for the juried competition came together late Wednesday.

 

Though Bliefnick says the big named judges won’t be present, it still gives fairgoers a chance to compete and move on to the next stage of the nationally televised singing competition show.

 

The tryouts will be the first Friday and Saturday of the fair, August 8th and 9th. Singers from the last season of American Idol will perform at the Grandstand Friday August 8th.

Palazzolo Says More Names to Be Added to Campaign Finance Committee


A Springfield mayoral candidate says they’re not officially endorsements of his candidacy, but a list of about 25 Springfield area leaders set to serve on a campaign finance committee signals their confidence in his bid for the city’s top job.

 

Paul Palazzolo announced the formation of the Campaign Finance Committee this week and says more names will be added soon.

 

As for taking a stance on who can donate to his campaign, Palazzolo says he will not limit who wants to express their first amendment rights to donate nor will he be beholden to anyone making donations to his campaign.

Chief AJ Sues State Over Sling Bow, State to Respond by Monday


A man suing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for discrimination says he attempted to settle with the state but they weren’t interested.

 

John Huffer, also known as Chief AJ, is suing the state’s DNR in federal court claiming he’s being discriminated against because he’s Native American.

 

Huffer says the state won’t let him sell his modified sling shot for big game hunting because it is not powerful enough, but he says he has engineering reports that show his sling bow is powerful enough.

 

The Illinois Attorney General’s confirms they have until Monday to respond to the case but refused comment until then.

American Idol Competitions Coming to State Fair


It’s not just American Idol singers that are coming the first Friday of the State Fair, there will also be tryouts.

 

Fair goers interested in competing for the singing competition show can tryout at the fair from 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday the 8th and 9th. State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said the decision to have competitions for American Idol was made late Wednesday.

 

Rules and regulations for the singing competition will be posted to the newly redesigned State Fair website.

 

The fair is expected to bring in $86 million to the local economy, including $3 million in sales tax revenue. The State Fair runs from August 7th through the 17th.

Coroner Identifies Kincaid Man Victim in Motorcycle Accident


The Sangamon County Coroner’s Office has released the identification of the motorcyclist who died after an accident in Springfield Wednesday afternoon.

 

Gavin Chatmon of Kincaid was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center shortly after Wednesday’s accident. Springfield police report that Chatmon’s motorcycle collided with a SUV that performed a u-turn to avoid a train on nearby tracks.

 

His motorcycle then continued to collide with another vehicle. Corner Cinda Edwards says the preliminary cause of death was blunt force injuries.

Police To Keep Eye Out for Explosive Devices During Downtown Event


Police will be vigilant this weekend during the first downtown event after a pipe bomb was found this week in Springfield.

 

As they have with other downtown events, Springfield Police will have a presence at the Downhome Music Beer and Art Festival Friday and Saturday.

 

Deputy Police Chief Dan Mounce says officers will be on the look out for suspicious devices after responding to an explosive device being found Monday on E. Washington.   Mounce says there is zero indication something similar will happen in the future.

 

That device was diffuse by Secretary of State Police. Mounce says that investigation of the pipe bomb is ongoing.

Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center Names New CEO


There’s a new CEO at the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. Michael Parejko has selected for the top spot after serving as the COO of the Indiana blood Center where he served since 2010.

 

The chair of the MVRBC Board of Directors says there was great interest fro the position and Parejko stood out among the field because of his experience with multiple facets of the industry.

 

Parejko formerly begins August 4th.

Fatal Accident Involving Motorcycle Under Investigation


A motorcyclist is dead and accident reconstruction crews continue to investigate after an east side accident involving three vehicles Wednesday afternoon.

 

Police say a motorcycle traveling on North Grand Avenue East was involved in an accident with a SUV. Police say the SUV reportedly performed a U-turn because of a train on nearby tracks.

 

Despite the cyclist falling off the motorcycle after the collision, the bike continued east on North Grand hitting another vehicle.

 

The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center. No other injuries were reported.

Human Remains Identified, Details Withheld As Investigation Continues


The human remains found in a Rochester garage earlier this month have been identified as a 43-year-old woman from Decatur, but authorities have yet to release her name.

 

A press release from Illinois State Police says next of kin have been notified but because of the pending investigation they are not releasing further details.

 

ISP has also not determined the motive and manner of the woman’s death.

Five Arrested After Tuesday Night Shooting, Car Chase, Accident


All together five people were arrested after a late Tuesday night accident following a fistfight and shooting.

 

That altercation ended with a high speed chase on South Grand where a vehicle flipped and came to rest upon several new vehicles at a car lot on Dirksen. Police were not involved in the chase.

 

Two people from the flipped SUV were charged with aggravated use of a weapons and unlawful use of a weapon.

 

Police updated their report Wednesday afternoon saying three other people in a another vehicle were separately arrested for aggravated battery, driving with a suspended license and cannabis possession.

 

One person is recovering from a gunshot graze wound to his back. Two others are recovering from injuries sustained when their vehicle flipped.

Report: Grandstand Roof Won't Be Complete Until After State Fair


Events at this year’s state fair Grandstand won’t be disrupted because of the roof, according to a state fair spokesperson.

 

The State Journal-Register reports the repairs to the roof at the Grandstand will not be complete by the time the fair starts in a few weeks.

 

The report says it took longer than expected to obtain metal sheeting for the roof repairs.

 

State Fair officials hope to have the quarter-of-a-million-dollar repair done before Labor Day.

Mayoral Candidate Palazzolo Announces Campaign Finance Committee


A Springfield Mayoral Candidate says he’s humbled to have the support of area leaders on an announced Campaign Finance Committee.

 

The Paul Palazzolo for Mayor Campaign put out a press release that features 25 people designated to the committee.

 

The list includes former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, former state senator Larry Bomke, plus current members of the Sangamon County Board and others.

 

Palazzolo says getting his message out to Springfield voters will take significant resources.

PILOT Money for Pensions to Be Changed Before Vote


The plan to give Springfield public safety pensions a cash infusion will be reworked before aldermen vote on the measure next week.

 

Ward 7 Aldermen Joe McMenamin says he will bring out an amendment that will cut the plan in half and only give one-million-dollars to police and fire pension funds, instead of the originally planned two-million-dollars.

 

City officials say excess Payment in Lieu of Tax money may not be as strong in the future.

 

The City Council meets Wednesday of next week.

Foreclosure Proceedings on Bel-Aire Motel Could Take Two Years


Springfield City Officials say it may take two years to complete foreclosure proceedings against the Bel-Aire Motel.

 

The debate about how to handle the trouble residential motel on south 6th heated up this week with a proposed measure that would label the establishment a chronic nuisance.

 

City Corporation Counsel Todd Greenburg says he doesn’t see a judge evicting residents because of a few calls to one unit over a few months.

 

Alderman Cory Jobe who is spearheading the chronic nuisance tactic says leveling fines for code violations is taking too long.

 

Aldermen will vote Wednesday on the chronic nuisance provision.

Positive Identity on Human Remains Found in Rochester, Investigation Continues


llinois State Police Investigators today announced they have positively identified female skeletal remains that were found on July 19 in Rochester.

 

An autopsy conducted by the Sangamon County Coroner confirmed that the remains matched the description of a 43 year old white female from Decatur. Positive identification was made using forensic evidence.

 

Next of kin has been notified but the victim’s name is not being released at this time by law enforcement pending the investigation.

 

The motive and manner of death have not been determined and the investigation remains on-going by the Illinois State Police, Sangamon County Coroner’s Office and Rochester Police Department.

More Arrests After Tuesday's Fight, Shooting, Chase, Car Crash Incident


Three other people facing charges in the aftermath of Tuesday evening's shooting that lead to a high speed car chase between two groups of twenty-somethings.

 

970 WMAY reported early Wednesday morning that two individuals arrested in a wrecked vehicle were charged with unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated use of a weapon.

 

Their SUV that had flipped over landing on top of new vehicles in a dealership parking lot on Dirksen after traveling at high speeds down S. Grand.

 

Three occupants of the another vehicle were arrested and charged separately with cannabis possession, aggravated battery and driving with a suspended license. Police say the incident stemmed from a fistfight at 14th and Cass.

Bel-Aire Foreclosure Proceedings Could Take Two Years


Springfield City Officials says there’s no quick fix to addressing the issues of the Bel-Aire Motel and it may take more than two years to get foreclosure proceedings moving forward.

 

During Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole, aldermen debated a measure that would use a chronic nuisance provision to work towards closing down the troubled residential motel.

 

But, the city’s legal department says the provision won’t work for the Bel-Aire. Instead Houston Administration Officials will continue to levy fines and liens against the absentee owner in hopes of getting foreclosure proceedings, but corporation counsel Todd Greenburg says that could take two years.

PILOT for Pensions Plan to Get Tweak


Aldermen will tweak a proposal to give an infusion of cash reserves from city coffers to Springfield fire and police pensions.

 

The original proposal would take just over two-million-dollars of Payment in Lieu of Tax money from the corporate fund to assist in paying down the growing unfunded liability of public safety pensions.

 

Alderman Joe McMenamin says he’ll motion to change the ordinance to give one-million-dollars to the public safety pension funds instead of two-million-dollars as was originally proposed.

 

The ordinance could be amended and passed next week.

 

The City Council will meet Wednesday next week because of the National Night Out scheduled for Tuesday.

Dist. 186 Not Renewing Contract with SPD for School Resource Officers


A Springfield School Board member says that a measure to scrap a contract with Springfield Police is a cost savings measure and will not disrupt student and staff safety.

 

Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty revealed that District 186 will not be renewing a nearly quarter-of-a-million dollar school resource officer contract.

 

School Board member Scott McFarland says instead the district will enter into contracts with off-duty officers.

 

That is expected to save the district $180,000.

 

McFarland says its part of the efforts of the district to shore up a lack of funding from the state to the tune of $5 million.

Three People Recovering After Shooting, Vehicle Crash, on City's East Side


Three people are recovering from non-life threatening injuries after a high-speed chase following a shooting. Springfield Police say reports of shots fired at around 11th and S. Grand came in late Tuesday evening. Officers observed one vehicle traveling down S. Grand at 90 mph followed by another vehicle. One vehicle then flipped and landed on several new vehicles in the S&K Parking Lot on Dirksen. Two occupants from that flipped vehicle were taken to the hospital and charged with aggravated discharge of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon. Another individual in the other vehicle had a bullet graze wound to his back and is said to be recovering. Police continue to investigate the incident.

Springfield Police Get Help from Feds in Pipe Bomb Investigation


Springfield Police are getting help from the Feds in their investigation of a pipe bomb found in downtown Springfield early Monday evening, and though not many details have been released, Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow says it appears someone may have attempted to detonate the explosive ... but failed.

 

The multi agency investigation was spurred on by the cylindrical device being located near a building on E. Washington.

 

Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad crews disarmed the device with a high-pressure water cannon.

 

Winslow says police are following every lead they can, including reviewing area surveillance footage with the help of the FBI and ATF.

Suspect Dead, Pana Cop Injured, After Tuesday Morning Shootout in Pana


An armed suspect is dead and a Pana Police officer is recovering from non-life threatening injuries after an early Tuesday morning shootout.

 

A report from the Illinois State Police says Christian County law enforcement responded to a “man with a gun” call. An unidentified Pana officer was shot after entering a home.

 

The armed suspect then fled to the residence’s roof, where after several hours he set a fire, shot at other police and then was fatally shot by law enforcement.

 

Three other individuals in the house were detained and questioned. Police haven’t disclosed any motive for the shooting incident.

 

The dead suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Josh Edwards of Pana.

Houston Admin Says There's No Quick Fix to Address Bel-Aire Motel


Despite hundreds of call over the past year-and-a-half, some leading to arrests on battery, assault, drugs and other charges, the city may not be able to do much about the Bel-Aire Motel right away ... that’s according to officials with the Houston Administration.

 

During Tuesday’s Springfield City Council Committee of the Whole, Police Chief Kenny Winslow said they couldn’t find any one individual from one individual unit at the residential motel that fit the criteria for being a chronic nuisance.

 

Corporation Council Todd Greenburg says that the city will be leveling 700 code violations against the out-of-state owner in administrative court late next month.

 

Alderman Cory Jobe’s ordinance to use a chronic nuisance provision against the Bel-Aire is on the debate agenda for possible passage next week.

Plan to Use Excess Money for Public Safety Pensions to Get Reworked


A measure to take excess Payment In Lieu of Tax money from the city's Corporate Fund to help pay down some of the mounting unfunded public safety pension liability may get reworked.

 

Alderman Joe McMenamin says he will introduce an amendment the ordinance next week.

 

Several Alderman and Houston administration officials contend there is uncertainty in the city’s reserves with big costs ahead for things like a firetruck or an EPA cleanup bill.

 

The city’s Chief Utilities Engineer says that PILOT money may be diminished by the mild summer and cheaper natural gas prices cutting into wholesale electricity sales.

 

Aldermen will discuss the measure to use excess money in city coffers to pay on the city’s fire and police pensions.

Parsons Back in Court in October


Jeff Parsons will be back in court this October to answer to claims he knowingly took more than $3.8 million out of his company when the business was broke.

 

The State Journal-Register reports the THR & Associates founder’s trial comes after several debt relief requests were denied when bankruptcy trustees alleged Parson attempted to defraud the court by hiding assets.

 

The new trial date is set for October 29th.

SPD: Someone May Have Tried to Detonate Pipe Bomb Downtown


Springfield Police say someone may have tried but failed to detonate a pipe-bomb in downtown Springfield Monday evening.

 

Without revealing too much of the ongoing investigation, Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow says there was an indication that someone may have tried but failed to explode the device. Police continue to look for leads in how a pipe bomb ended up downtown.

 

Winslow said someone called police to report the device. Once police arrived to the scene at 600 E. Washington, they set up a perimeter and called in the Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad.

 

Winslow says SPD is working with the FBI and the AFT to review surveillance footage and other clues, but didn't want to divulge much more about their investigation. Secretary of State Police detonated the device Monday evening. 

 

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers.

Armed Suspect Dead, Pana Cop Recovering, Three Detained for Questioning After Early Morning Shooting


An armed suspect is dead, and a Pana Police officer is recovering after being shot after an early morning outside of Pana Tuesday.

 

An Illinois State Police press release says Christian County Sheriff's officers responded to a "man with a gun" call.

 

Responding to the call, a Pana Police was shot inside a house. The suspect then fled to the roof. The Sheriff then requested Illinois State Police Air Operations to attempt negotiations. That's when the suspect set a fire, shot at police who then returned fire fatally striking the unidentified suspect.

 

Three other individuals in the house were detained for questioning. State Police say they have not determined a motive.

 

Christian County says Illinois State Police are handling the investigation.

Green Toyota backing the Hero 9-11 App


At least one area high school will accept a $2500 dollar contribution from a local auto dealer to set up an app that could save lives in the event of a school shooting.  Green Toyota will give Ball-Chatham schools the money to set up the Hero 9-11 system at Glenwood High School.  Green Toyota has also offered to set up the system at Sacred Heart-Griffin and the three district 1-86 high schools, but those four schools have not made a final decision.  The app would trigger an alert on a smart phone to law enforcement within a 10-15 miles radius of the effected school, allowing both on and on duty officers in the area to respond to the distress call.  The app would only be able to be activated by teachers and only while they are on school property.

Police Respond to 600 Calls at Bel-Aire Motel in Year and a Half


In the past year-and-a-half, police were called to the Bel-Aire Motel 600 times … 100 of those calls are grounds for the beleaguered Springfield landmark to be considered a chronic nuisance.

 

That’s according to new numbers gathered by Alderman Cory Jobe in an effort to shut down the motel.

 

Jobe will present more details about the hundreds of calls to the Bel-Aire during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole where aldermen will consider an ordinance to use a chronic nuisance code to shut the facility down.

 

The Houston administration says they are already working the legal channels to address the issues at the motel.

Sheriff's Office Corrects Gender of Victim of Crash on Waverly Road


It was a man, not a woman that died in a single vehicle accident late Monday evening.

 

The Sangamon County Sheriff’s office is correcting initial reports of that accident saying law enforcement learned it was a 35-year-old male occupant that was later pronounced dead when the 2004 Jeep Cherokee crashed on Waverly Road in the southwest part of the county.

 

Sangamon County Undersheriff Jack Campbell says accident reconstruction crews continue their investigation.

Quinn Signs Nonbinding Millionaire Surcharge Referendum


Voters will get the chance to sound off on the so-called millionaire surcharge this November, after Governor Pat Quinn signed the nonbinding referendum into law.

 

The measure would ask voters if higher income taxes should be levied on residents making more than a million dollars in order to pay for education.

 

A measure from House Speaker Mike Madigan to impose a surcharge on millionaires in the state failed to get enough support in the general assembly.

 

Critics of the non-binding referendum say it’s a ploy by democrats to get their base to the polls.

Investigation Concludes, Ban on Admissions Continues at Hope


An investigation at Hope Institute for Children and Families has been resolved saying there was abuse or neglect, and the state ban on new admissions to the school for the developmentally disabled on East Hazel Dell continues.

 

The case trigged by a student’s injury back in November indicated an incident of abuse with Hope firing an employee believed to be involved.

 

The Sangamon County State’s Attorney says no criminal charges have been filed, according to the State Journal-Register.

 

Hope officials continue to work on a corrective-action plan, including staff training and better record-keeping.

State Fair Managers Disciplined for Beer Ticket Gifting


Two state fair managers have been disciplined for their roles in improperly gifted beer tickets, according to a summary judgment from the Executive Ethics Commission.

 

Illinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick, who was suspended for two days and fined $1,000, is said to have accepted over $500 in free beer tickets from vendors.

 

The judgment issued late last week says Bliefnick gave those tickets to employees of the Department of Agriculture.

 

Meanwhile former DuQuoin State Fair manager John Rednour was fined $5,000 for accepting several thousand beer tickets from vendors. Rednour was asked to step down from his position.

Investigation Continues Into Fatal Single Vehicle Accident


A fatal accident on Waverly Road late Monday claimed the life of a female occupant.

 

The single-vehicle crash is under investigation. Sangamon County Undersheriff Jack Campbell say it’s unknown whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Police Respond to IED in Downtown Springfield


Springfield Police and the Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad responded to a report of a suspicious device Monday evening in downtown Springfield.

 

Police say the device found at the 600 block of E. Washington was an improvised explosive device.

 

A press release says police responded to a report, established a perimeter and the bomb squad rendered the device safe. An investigation is ongoing.

Complaint: Chicago Doctor Faked Pot Paperwork


A Chicago Doctor faked pot paperwork, according to a complaint from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

 

The complaint says Dr. Joseph Strakman charged patients $250 to get a certificate for medical marijuana. One patient got a certificate with a state seal, but the state hasn’t issued any medical cannabis permits.

 

A statement from IDFPR says the state will prosecute doctors attempting to work outside of the medical marijuana pilot program.

Road Salt Costs to Impact County Highways


It could cost more to salt winter roads in Sangamon County after the state’s Central Management Services announced it was unable to obtain supplies for nearly 200 cities and counties.

 

The previous brutal winter hit road salt supplies and drove up prices.

 

That could impact county highways, but the State Journal-Register reports Springfield Public Works extended their previous contract for road salt and have new equipment that cuts down on how much salt is used on freezing roads.

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