A Mississippi River ferry service linking southwestern Illinois' Jersey County to Missouri's St. Charles County is about to be back in business after being shut down for more than two years. The (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1146MGq ) reports that the Grafton ferry will resume next Friday, thanks to dredging efforts that cleared out river silt that kept the service from operating.
Mayor Mike Houston has announced that Springfield's Chief of Police and top legal counsel are both on their way out.
Houston says Chief Robert Williams will take the rest of his accrued vacation time and retire in mid-October. Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen is expected to formally submit his resignation when he returns from a vacation out of the country.
In a Friday evening interview with WUIS, Houston called for a stop to the "innuendo and rumors" he says are "floating around" in the community.
An Illinois man convicted of fatally beating five members of his ex-wife's family in 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison. A judge sentenced Christopher Harris to five consecutive life sentences on Friday. The 34-year-old Harris faced a mandatory life sentence after he was convicted in May on five counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and other charges.
Across the world, the drilling process referred to as "fracking" has caused controversy. Some say it brings heavy profits with the oil and natural gas it extracts from far underground. Others say it's caused pollution, contaminated water... and even initiated earthquakes. It's an issue Illinois residents have been largely untouched by - until now, as fracking has recently begun in the southern part of the state.
The number of heroin users and associated overdose deaths seems to have gone up in recent years. In Illinois the trend of increased heroin abuse is getting reactions from social service agencies and law enforcement. It's an issue that Bruce Rushton of the Illinois Timesrecently reported on - he brings us a closer look at his investigation in this interview:
This week back in 1979, a baseball promotion got out of hand. Known as Disco Demolition, it prompted
fans to bring disco records to the ball park to watch them blown up. It wound up in what some called a riot.
White Sox owner Bill Veeck was known for his wild promotions. But this idea belonged to his son, Mike, a White Sox executive. Since then, Mike Veeck has built a long resume in baseball. He has ownership in six minor league teams, including the one in Bloomington-Normal. But his legacy will always include the disco fiasco…
Residents of Springfield and surrounding towns have until July 15 to provide feedback on a plan designed to make rural Sangamon County more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Linda Wheeland of the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission and Lynn Miller of the Springfield Bicycle Club joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to talk about mapping the area's transportation future:
A central Illinois man convicted in May of beating to death five members of his ex-wife's family in their home wants a new trial. Attorneys Daniel Fultz and Peter Naylor mailed a motion asking for a new trial for Christopher Harris last Friday. A spokeswoman for the Logan County Circuit Clerk's Office said Monday that it hasn't yet arrived. The attorneys argue Judge Scott Drazewski denied 34-year-old Harris a fair trial by refusing to let jurors visit the home in Beason where Rick and Ruth Gee and their children died in 2009.
Developers who've been planning for years to build a shopping center and gas station at a busy intersection on Springfield's northwest side say they could break ground on the project next month.
The Jefferson Crossing redevelopment plan got final approval from aldermen Tuesday night. The City Council agreed to set aside $9.2 million dollars in future tax revenues to reimburse builders. The funds will come from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District set up in 2007 specifically for the project.
The economy has proven difficult for many. But one group in particular, returning veterans, is finding it especially hard to locate work. Meredith Colias of Illinois Issues magazine wrote about the problem in the latest edition.
UIS Chancellor Susan Koch (standing) addresses a Springfield Citizens Club meeting Friday that unveiled a new countywide survey. The citizen survey is a joint project of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and the United Way of Central Illinois.
While most say the county is a good place to live, work and raise kids, it's not all a rosy picture. It found crime is a concern, most want better roads and additional events like outdoor festivals and farmer's markets. But overall, the reviews were positive.
Dr. Ashley Kirzinger is Director of the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office which called and asked residents more than 100 quality of life questions. She says it was surprising to find younger people have a brighter outlook for Sangamon County.
The Morgan County Coroner says a mother and her two young sons were the victims of a fatal fire early Thursday morning. Coroner Jeff Lair says smoke inhalation is blamed for the deaths of Kayla Perry and her two sons, 4-year-old Christopher and 7-year-old Joshua. The family's mobile home caught fire around 1 am Thursday. Neighbors placed the 911 call, and area firefighters say they arrived to find the residence fully engulfed in flames. A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.
For two decades Springfielders have celebrated Juneteenth. It's a holiday commemorated in most states. It marks the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865, which came two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Before Gen. Benjamin Grierson won acclaim for his tactical raid that helped the Union forces take Vicksburg. But before then, he was a music teacher in Jacksonville. This weekend, the community’s annual event to honor Grierson takes place. Plenty of free events that tie history and entertainment together are part of Grierson Days.
A series of public lectures in west central Illinois begins tomorrow night at the Kinderhook Lodge in Barry. The series will discuss the Underground Railroad, Civil War military service, emancipation and safe havens, like the nearby historic town of New Philadelphia.
Residents in the Springfield area can now sign up to have alerts about severe weather and other emergencies sent right to their phone.
The city received a $10,000 grant to set up the new system. The money comes through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, which distributes federal funds to city and county governments for public safety programs and disaster preparedness tools.
Monday night's severe storms stopped the presses of the local newspaper in Hannibal, Missouri. A widespread power outage prevented the Hannibal Courier-Post from getting a print edition to readers. Reporters there, including Dominic Genetti, used the internet and social media to provide news updates on damage caused by 90 mile-an-hour winds. As Genetti told Peter Gray on Illinois Edition Tuesday, two funnel clouds were reportedly spotted just outside of town last night:
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's gathering more information about events last month that triggered allegations that the city destroyed files sought in a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Attorneys for Springfield resident Calvin Christian say the police department violated a state public records retention law last month by destroying dozens of internal affairs files subject to a FOIA request filed by Christian.
The funerals for five people murdered last week in Manchester are over, but donations are still being sought to offset those costs.
The victims were five family members, including two small children. Services took place at the Mackey Daws Funeral Home in the town of Roodhouse. Justin Daws is the funeral director there. He says the burials also occurred this week – though payments have yet to be made. Daws says the area in west central Illinois is tight-knit and he will wait indefinitely for funds from the victim’s family to come in: