Regional

Springfield City Council
6:26 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Winslow Hired As Springfield Police Chief

Chief Kenneth Winslow
Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Springfield aldermen have unanimously approved the hiring of Kenny Winslow as the city's police chief. Winslow has been in the role since last summer, when he took over after the resignation of Robert Williams.
   But his hiring on a permanent basis was delayed last night as council members questioned him in private for more than half an hour.    An internet site had raised issues about how Winslow might restructure the department. Mayor Mike Houston says aldermen wanted to hear from Winslow:

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Regional
6:27 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Illinois Sites Named To Historic Register

Galena, Ill.
Credit visit Galena

More than two dozen Illinois buildings and downtown districts have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says 23 buildings and 11 historic districts were added to the register in 2013.  

They include everything from a mausoleum in the suburban Chicago community of Beecher and an East St. Louis hotel to historic districts in Galena and Plainfield and a Chicago furniture factory.  

Inclusion on the list means properties are deemed worthy of preservation and makes them eligible for financial incentives.  

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Regional
2:44 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Lucore named St. John's CEO

Credit prairieheart.com

St. John's new CEO says the Springfield hospital will face many challenges as a result of the Affordable Care Act ... like changes in Medicare reimbursement -- which now rewards keeping patients out of hospitals.

Dr. Charles Lucore's appointment was announced Thursday.

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Springfield City Council
10:43 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Aldermen Call For Movement On Hunter Lake

Ald. Frank Edwards

Several Springfield aldermen want to ramp up efforts for building Hunter Lake.  

The proposed second water source for the city has been on the drawing board for decades, but the state EPA and Army Corps of Engineers must sign off on the project.  

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Regional
8:57 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

So. Ill. Town Has No Squad Cars Left

Credit VillageofIna.com

A small southern Illinois community is without any police cars after separate accidents heavily damaged the department's only two squad cars.  

The police chief in the village of Ina says the first car was damaged last week when it was hit by an ambulance. The second car was wrecked on Tuesday when it was hit by a semi-truck on a snowy highway.  
No one was injured in either collision.  

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Regional
6:00 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Springfield's Fight Against Panhandling

Credit wuis.org

Springfield's effort to reduce panhandling in the downtown area is facing a legal challenge.   While business owners say a city ordinance has worked, critics say it infringes on free speech rights.
 

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Regional
5:39 am
Thu February 6, 2014

New Lincoln Stamp To Be Unveiled Feb. 12

Credit presidentlincoln.illinois.gov

A new commemorative stamp will be released to mark Abraham Lincoln's 205th birthday.  

U.S. Postal Service officials will be on hand Feb. 12 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield for an unveiling ceremony for the new stamp, which features an image of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.  

Lincoln and his family lived in Springfield for more than two decades before he was elected as the country's 16th president in 1860. Lincoln worked out of the capitol building as both a lawyer and a politician.  

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Springfield
5:58 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Winslow Expected To Get Police Chief Job

Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

After more than 6 months as Acting Springfield Police Chief, Kenny Winslow has been nominated for the job on permanent basis.  

Winslow assumed his role July 29th, after Robert Williams resigned following a file shredding scandal.  
Winslow says there are several things at the department that need to be done. 

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Regional
2:34 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Springfield's Road Salt Supply Runs Low

Credit springfield.il.us

It's been a hard winter for area residents.  Governmental agencies in charge of keeping streets cleared of snow and ice have also felt the impact.

In Springfield, Public Works Director Mark Mahoney calls it a return to normal.

"In some ways, we've got a little bit spoiled. The last couple of winters have been very mild.  Over the past several years, we haven't had the type of winters we had a few decades ago," he said.   

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Regional
11:57 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Weather Cancellations

Schools Closed Thursday

A-C Central

Auburn

Ball Chatham Schools

Capital Area Career Center

Jacksonville Public Schools

Jacksonville Routt

Lincoln Public Schools

New Berlin

North Mac

Pawnee

Pleasant Plains

PORTA

Riverton

Rochester

Sangamon Valley

Sacred Heart Griffin

Springfield Catholic Grade Schools

Springfield Christian School

Springfield District 186

Tri City

Waverly

Williamsville

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Regional
9:59 am
Mon February 3, 2014

How Efficient Can Government Be?

Norm Sims

Last month, a local panel put together a list of recommendations designed to make Sangamon County governmental units work better and, in some cases, save money.  Voters helped create the Citizens' Efficiency Commission of Sangamon County through an earlier referendum.  They have another chance to keep the effort going in the March election.

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Poverty
8:17 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Illinois Poverty Remains Stubbornly High

Credit Georgetown University

A new study finds Illinois' overall poverty rate is about the same as it was a half century ago.  

The report released Thursday by the Chicago-based Social IMPACT Research Center says almost 15 percent of Illinois residents lived below the federal poverty line in 2012, about the same percentage as in 1960.  

That's despite scores of state and federal aid programs and a dramatic drop in the number of older people in poverty.  

Poverty has increased among working-age men and women, and 1 in 5 children are in poverty. It's highest among blacks and Latinos.  

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Regional
8:46 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Mailboxes: A Casualty Of Winter Weather

Credit flickr/jkwerner2

If you're maintaining a city budget in Illinois you better keep some money on hand to pay for mailboxes. Lots of them.
 
Mailboxes that sit along the side of streets are frequent casualties of winter
snow-plowing.
 
Champaign city officials tell The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1aYPH5y ) that
over the past three winters at least 232 people have complained that snowplows
have damaged their mailboxes.
 
The repairs and replacements cost a combined $6,582. That doesn't include the
labor.
 

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Regional
7:55 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Another Round Of School Closings Monday

Some Amtrak trains are not running today in downstate Illinois.

  School Closings for Monday Jan. 27

A-C Central

Athens

Auburn

Ball Chatham

Bradley University

Calvary Academy

Decatur

Edinburg

Greenview

Illinois State University

Jacksonville

Jacksonville Routt

Lincoln public schools

Lincoln College

New Berlin

Pawnee

Pleasant Plains

PORTA

Riverton

Rochester

Robert Morris University

Sangamon Valley

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Regional
3:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Citizens' Efficiency Commission Report Released

Karen Hasara
Credit news.uis.edu

A Sangamon County panel has unveiled its recommendations for streamlining local government and saving money.

The Citizens Efficiency Commission offered 23 specific proposals... ranging from joint purchasing among agencies to public safety changes.

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Regional
2:13 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

New Madrid Fault Still Active And Poses A Threat

Credit USGS

Scientists said today that the New Madrid fault zone in the nation's midsection is active and could spawn future large earthquakes.  

The journal Science published the study online. U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough was part of the study. She says the fault zone is ``not dead yet.''  
Researchers have long debated just how much of a hazard New Madrid poses. The zone stretches 150 miles, crossing parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.  

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Regional
9:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Thursday's Closings

School closings for Thursday January 23:

A C Central

Athens

Auburn

Ball Chatham

Calvary Academy

Capital Area Career Center

Decatur

Edinburg

Goodwill's Vocational Rehab & Developmental Training programs

Greenview

Jacksonville Public Schools

Jacksonville Routt

Lincoln Public Schools

New Berlin

North Mac

Pawnee

Pleasant Plains

PORTA

Riverton

Rochester

Sangamon Valley

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Regional
10:03 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Council To Consider Lake Decatur Dredging

Credit flickr/HAM guy

Central Illinois officials are expected to vote next month on whether to spend nearly $90 million on a massive dredging project in Lake Decatur.
 
The Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1dvfQFI ) Decatur's city council is expected to vote on the project during their Feb. 3 meeting.
 
During a work session Tuesday, city manager Ryan McCrady said the effort would be ``the biggest project the city of Decatur has ever undertaken.''
 
Officials have said removing billions of gallons of sediment from the lake will

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Regional
7:46 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Springfield Halfway Houses May Close

Several halfway houses for parolees are in jeopardy after the Springfield City Council refused to allow a zoning change.

House of the Rainbow provides residences for parolees in four homes on North 10th Street and one on Enterprise Street.  But the zoning only allows for single family homes.

Owner of House of the Rainbow, David Kettelkamp, said he was not told what type of zoning designation he needed.

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Regional
11:32 am
Thu January 16, 2014

FutureGen Gets Key Federal Approval

The FutureGen site
Credit WUIS

The U.S. Department of Energy has given the long-running FutureGen clean-coal project one of the final OKs it needs to start building.  

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Regional
4:52 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Search Of Judge's Pike County Cabin Turned Up Drugs, Guns

Former Judge Michael Cook
Credit booking photo

A search by federal agents of a cabin owned by an Illinois judge turned up drugs, guns and ammunition.  
The search of former Judge Mike Cook's Pike County hunting cabin came two months after Associate Judge Joe Christ died last year of a cocaine overdose in the cabin's bathroom. Cook was in custody at the time of the search.

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Crime & Punishment
4:30 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Shirley Skinner, 78, Asks Governor To Commute Murder Sentence

From left: Penny Watkins, mother of victim Steven Watkins; Andrea Lyon, a DePaul University law professor representing Skinner; Debbie Webster, Skinner’s daughter; and Kenneth Skinner, Shirley’s husband of 61 years.
Brian Mackey/WUIS

An elderly woman convicted in a notorious murder case is asking the governor to let her out of prison. At a hearing on the matter Wednesday in Springfield, family and friends of the victim were uniformly opposed.

Shirley Skinner is just a few years into her 55-year sentence. A jury convicted her of murdering her granddaughter's estranged husband, Steven Watkins, shooting him in the back of the head. He had come to their house in Ashland to visit his daughter.

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Regional
5:02 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Archdiocese Of Chicago Apologizes To Abuse Victims

Credit wikipedia.org

The Archdiocese of Chicago is apologizing to the victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Bishop Francis Kane offered the apology during a news conference Wednesday to discuss church files on sex abuse cases that are being released.

The documents involve 30 former priests with substantiated abuse claims against them. The files are being handed over to attorneys for victims as part of a settlement.

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Regional
3:18 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

ADM Donates $50K For Farm And Food Exhibit At Springfield Kids Museum

Kidzeum of Health and Sciences

The non-profit group planning to build a new children’s museum along East Adams Street in downtown Springfield has received $50,000 from Archer Daniels Midland Company to install what museum organizers are calling a Farm to Market exhibit.

CLICK HERE to view the latest concept art for the Kidzeum of Health and Science (subject to change)

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Local Government
8:24 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Springfield Aldermen Question Email Change

Credit springfield.il.us

Springfield aldermen raised questions last night regarding their city email accounts.  Alderman Cory Jobe says an email from a constituent was forwarded to him from the City Communications Director's account.   Nathan Mihelich holds that position. He says it's due to how the email program is set up.

“The way the computer works, it may list me as the administrator for the program.  And that's why you're seeing it like that.  But I'm not cc'd on any of those emails,” Mihelich said.

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Transportation
8:27 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Springfield Airport Makes Upgrades

Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport underwent $5.3 million in improvements last year.  

Springfield Airport Authority Chairman Frank Vala said Monday that the upgrades were necessary to maintain a ``safe, modern and user friendly facility for all airport users.''  

The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1eEgDsy) that the improvements included taxiways, roadways, safety fences and restrooms. The airport also added a solar-thermal collection system to reduce water-heating costs.  
The airport plans nearly $7.6 million in improvements for this year.

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Religion
5:44 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Diocese: Allegation Against Former Jacksonville Priest "Credible"

Credit dio.org

An internal church investigation has determined an allegation of sex abuse against an Illinois priest is "credible."

30 years ago, Father Robert DeGrand  worked in a Jacksonville parish.  It was during that time he is alleged to have sexually abused a child.  The Springfield Diocese formed a panel to review the claim.    However, the details of the allegation have not been made public. 

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Regional
4:24 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Cold Weather Impacted Blood Supply

Health officials are putting out the word that supplies are running low after blood drives in Illinois were canceled because of this week's winter weather.  
At the Central Illinois Community Blood Center in Springfield, officials say there have been about 600 fewer donations.  
And in the St. Louis area, more than 30 different blood drives were canceled.  

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Regional
3:39 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Federal Aid Denied To Tornado Damaged Counties

Credit Peoria Public Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request for aid to local governments in Illinois after deadly tornadoes swept the state in November.  

FEMA sent a letter on Thursday to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency saying that damage after the storms wasn't severe enough to warrant federal help. The storms left at least 7 people dead statewide and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.  

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Regional
2:57 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tuesday Closings

Credit Minneapolis Public Schools

The following closures are for Tuesday, January 7:

Schools:

A-C Central

Athens

Auburn

Ball Chatham

Calvary Academy

Capital Area Career Center

Goodwill's Vocational Rehab program and classes will be closed January 7. Both Goodwill buses and SMTD buses that transport Vocational Rehab participants will not be running tomorrow.

Greenview

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