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April 20, 2014, 9:18 pm
970 WMAY News

Autopsy Monday For Woman Killed In Bizarre Linked Accidents

An autopsy is planned for Monday for a woman who died after she was involved in a pair of traffic crashes just minutes apart in Springfield Friday.


34-year-old Amanda Poole was critically injured when the car she was driving was struck by a pickup truck at South Dirksen and Niccolls Road Friday afternoon.  She had to be extricated from the vehicle.  Then as an ambulance was rushing her to the hospital, it collided head-on with an SUV that police say failed to yield at Dirksen and Clear Lake.


Several other people were also injured in the two crashes, including a Springfield firefighter on-board the ambulance who was treated and released.

McMenamin Supports Gaming Restrictions, Despite Potential Benefits To ''Fake Taverns''

A Springfield alderman says he supports a proposal to restrict future video gaming licenses in the city… even though he thinks it might create a monopoly for existing businesses that he calls “fake taverns.” 


Alderman Joe McMenamin says video gaming parlors who have liquor licenses… but whose primary business is the gaming terminals… will probably applaud the proposal for future limits, because it will protect them from other, similar competitors.

Pension Law Typo Could Push Hundreds Into Retirement

University of Illinois officials are urging state lawmakers to correct a mistake in last year’s pension reform bill that threatens to slash benefits for hundreds of university employees around the state unless they retire by June 30th


Officials say if the mistake isn’t corrected, they could lose lots of talented employees who will retire right away in order to avoid a reduction in monthly pension payments. 


But some lawmakers worry that re-opening the pension bill could start a tidal wave of requests for changes.

Lawmakers Push To Get New State Police Cars On The Road

Some GOP lawmakers have introduced a bill to push Illinois State Police to get dozens of new squad cars equipped with radios and computers, and get them out on the street. 


At least 80 brand new cars are sitting idle in a Springfield parking lot, because ISP says it doesn’t have the skilled manpower to install all the equipment that a police car has to have.

McMenamin Wants to Amend Video Gambling Ordinance

A Springfield Aldermen is raising questions about the intent of an ordinance that is meant to curb the number of gambling licensees issued by the city.


Springfield aldermen Cory Jobe and Frank Edwards have proposed an ordinance that would only provide video gaming licenses to businesses that make most of their revenue from food and alcohol sales.


During the 970 WMAY News Feed, Alderman Joe McMenamin says he agrees with the direction of the proposal but has concerns that would provide a monopoly for what he calls “fake taverns,” establishments that get a liquor licenses only for the potential of getting video gaming terminals.


Jobe says he put forth the ordinance because of concerns from restaurant and bar and grill owners, not gaming parlors. McMenanin says he wants to amend the ordinance to only allow 5 terminals, not 10, as is being floated by state lawmakers.


Aldermen are set to debate the proposals Tuesday during the Committee of the Whole.

Springfield Man Under Arrest for Not Filing Tax Returns

Not even two days after the tax filing deadline a Springfield man is under arrest for not filing his individual income tax returns.


Fredrick I. Harrold is being held on four counts of failure to file his taxes for 2009 through 2012.


Harrold is being held at the Sangamon County Jail with a bond of $50,000.


The Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue says the arrest sends a message that the state will prosecute people who don’t take their responsibility to file tax returns seriously.


If Harrold is convicted on all counts he could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. Harrold’s first hearing is May 21st.

Obama Presidential Library Vote Erupts In Controversy

An Illinois House committee has unanimously approved spending $100 million to establish the Obama Presidential Library and Museum in Chicago after President Obama’s term is up.  But that 9-to-nothing vote is causing controversy. 


Illinois Public Radio reports only five members were in attendance at the hearing Thursday.  Lawmakers used a procedural move that declared the attendance roll call from Wednesday’s committee hearing would serve as the vote for Thursday’s consideration of the library funding.


A Republican lawmaker who is now listed as a “yes” vote for the Obama library and museum… even though he wasn’t present… says he thinks the move was illegal.

Full ISP Report On Graham And Carpenter Released

The full 23-hundred page report on the actions of two Springfield police detectives has been released. 


The city had indicated that it would have to issue that report a little at a time over a period of months… so that it could thoroughly review the document and remove sensitive or confidential material.  But the city abruptly reversed course Thursday and issued the entire massive report on DVD. 


The 2005 investigation outlined findings into alleged misconduct by detectives Jim Graham and Paul Carpenter.  You can find a link to download the entire report here.

Taylorville Couple Claims $20 Million Lotto Prize

It may be the best wedding present of all time. 


A Taylorville couple who got married less than three weeks ago is now enjoying the windfall from a winning lottery ticket they bought last week.  Steve Durbin purchased the Quick Pick ticket while buying groceries at the Taylorville Kroger store. 


The retired Department of Corrections employee discovered the next day that he had won the $20 million Lotto jackpot.  He and his new wife Wilma will take a lump sum of more than $11 million, before taxes.

Illinois Jobless Rate Hits Five-Year Low

Illinois’s unemployment rate has hit a five-year low… even though it remains well above the national average. 


The State Department of Employment Security says the March jobless rate fell to 8.4 percent, the best it’s been since January of 2009.  The drop came even as more Illinoisans returned to an active job search… and despite the effects of ongoing harsh winter weather in March. 


The biggest areas of job growth are in professional services, health and construction… while government jobs are down statewide.

Mumps Outbreak Hits Central Illinois

There’s been a big spike in cases of the mumps in Central Illinois in recent days… and public health officials are trying to figure out why.


Sangamon County public health director Jim Stone says the numbers locally are huge compared to recent years.  There have been 12 cases in the last 30 days in Sangamon County... compared to just one in each of the past three years.  In neighboring Morgan County, 40 cases have been reported.  Last year, there were only 25 cases of mumps in the entire state of Illinois.


The Sangamon County cases are concentrated among adults between the ages of 25 and 53.  Most adults in that age group would have received the MMR vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella.  But Stone says it’s unclear if the victims haven’t been immunized or if this is just a very aggressive strain of the virus. 


Mumps can cause swelling of the salivary glands, along with fatigue, headache and other problems.  Stone says people who haven’t been vaccinated should get that done.  And he says good hygiene practices will slow the spread of the bug.

Democrats Say Schools Would Take Hit if Temporary Tax Hike Expires

District 186 could find itself with another $4 million hole in next year’s budget… while Ball-Chatham and Rochester could have to make up $1 million each… if the state’s temporary income tax increase expires at the end of the year.


That’s according to new numbers from Illinois Senate Democrats.


But the State Journal-Register reports local Republican lawmakers are skeptical of the numbers… and think they represent scare tactics in an effort to drum up support for a vote to make the tax hike permanent.

Rauner's 401-K Plan Wouldn't Include Police and Fire

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner says he would not include police officers and firefighters in his plan to move public sector workers to a 401-k type of retirement plan.


Rauner has proposed such a system for teachers, state workers and others in cash-strapped state-funded pension systems.


But he tells a Chicago TV station that the unique dangers that police and firefighters face means they should not be treated the same way.


AFSCME blasts the idea, saying Rauner forgets the dangers faced every day by corrections workers, highway crews, or workers at mental health facilities.

Still No Solid Numbers in Local ACA Signups

There’s no clear indication yet of how many Sangamon County residents have been able to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.


County public health director Jim Stone says the health department helped just over 600 people sign up.


Most of them qualified for the state’s expanded Medicaid program, but around 200 signed up for private policies in the health insurance exchanges.


But Stone says those numbers don’t include other local agencies who helped county residents sign up… or people who simply went to the website on their own and obtained a policy.

Ald. Simpson Critical Over City Employees Appearing on TV Show

A Springfield alderman is critical of a recent TV appearance by two city employees… including Mayor Mike Houston’s director of human resources.


The segment on the “Steve Harvey Show” featured a city worker getting tips on how to ask for a raise or promotion.


The show then brought out HR director Melina Tomaras-Collins to hear the employee’s pitch.


On the show, Tomaras-Collins said she would recommend that the mayor grant the promotion and raise.


Alderman Gail Simpson says that was inappropriate and sends a wrong signal to other employees.


But Tomaras-Collins says employee Sara Taylor deserves the bump… and sees nothing wrong with supporting her on a nationally-televised show.



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