Illinois to Missouri border.

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 ( ) 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

Springfield Halfway Houses May Close

Jan 22, 2014

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.


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.  

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.

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.

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.

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)

Springfield Aldermen Question Email Change

Jan 15, 2014

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.

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 ( 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.

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. 

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.  

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.  

Tuesday Closings

Jan 6, 2014
Minneapolis Public Schools

The following closures are for Tuesday, January 7:


A-C Central



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.



The snowstorm that dumped several inches on Illinois has moved out of the state.  But high winds and extremely cold temperatures make for another night of dangerous conditions.   Interstates have slick spots from where blowing snow has covered the road.  Many secondary roads are in much worse shape.  
Ann Schneider, Illinois' Transportation Secretary, says her agency has been advising the public to avoid driving...

"And so it's still very treacherous for motorists and we strongly encourage motorists if they don't have to travel, please don't. Stay home," Schneider said.

Secretary of State's Office

The Secretary of State's office is closing all 138 of its facilities around Illinois. Agency spokesman Dave Druker ) says officials decided to shut the locations on Monday because of bad road conditions in central and southern Illinois, along with the dangerous cold in northern Illinois. Offices are set to reopen on Tuesday. 

Sangamon County reports that portions of the following roads are closed due to drifting snow. 

CH 40 – W. Loami Road from Chatham to Morgan Co. line.

CH 45 – Johns Creek Road from Loami to Thayer Rd.

CH 6 – Thayer Road from Morgan Co. line to Thayer.

CH 47 – Prairie Creek Road from Pleasant Plains Road to Farmingdale Road.

CH 10 – Pleasant Plains Road from Old Jacksonville Road to Pleasant Plains.

CH 48 – Prairie School Road from Sherman Road to Logan Co. line.

CH 16 – Buffalo Hart Road from IL 54 to Logan Co. line.

University of Illinois Springfield & Lincoln Land Community College along with most other colleges are closed today.

Springfield District 186, Jacksonville and surrounding school districts closed.

SIU Health Care, Springfield Clinic and Memorial Physician Services closed today.

Most waste hauling in Springfield is canceled today.

Minneapolis Public Schools

The University of Illinois Springfield is closed Monday due to weather conditions.  UIS is operating under its essential services policy.

Springfield School District 186 is closed Monday, as is the Jacksonville School  District and most other area schools.

Other colleges closed on Monday include Bradley University, Illinois College, Illinois State University, Lincoln College, Lincoln Land Community College, Robert Morris University, SIU School of Medicine and Western Illinois University,

The Springfield Office of Public Works is preparing its response for a winter storm as the National Weather Service has predicted heavy snowfall between midnight and noon on Sunday.

A Snow Emergency will go into effect Saturday night at 8 p.m. and will remain in effect until Tuesday at 12 a.m. When a snow emergency is declared, all vehicles must be removed from the routes within four hours of activation.  

The City of Springfield issued the following news release:

A modest but perceptible uptick in the number of wolves roaming in from Wisconsin has forced Illinois to begin considering the possibility that permanent wolf populations could take hold.  

Illinois' wolves were hunted to extinction 150 years ago. But since a first confirmed sighting in 2002, wolf sightings have gone from rare to regular. There have been at least five the last three years.  
Nearly all are thought to have come from Wisconsin, which has more than 800 wolves.  

wikimedia commons

Illinois officials say more than 2,000 people in counties declared federal disaster areas after tornadoes struck in November applied for federal assistance.  
Gov. Pat Quinn visited the central Illinois community of Washington on Tuesday.
His office says more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans have been approved.  
Washington was hit hard by one of the roughly two dozen tornadoes that struck on Nov. 17. Seven people died and thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.  

Police Concerned About Concealed Carry

Dec 30, 2013
flickr/creative commons

Illinoisans can start applying for permits to carry concealed guns later this week.  And some cops are already worried about the new law.

"They don’t know how this will all roll out, and they’re worried about every one of their normal encounters - whether it be a domestic disturbance call, a traffic stop - uh, now potentially having additional weapons," said Colonel Marc Maton of the Illinois State Police.

A map of 70 MPH speed limits.   Drivers in the Springfield area will still have a speed limit of 65 mph around the city.    The lower speed limit affects motorists from the south side of the city to the northwest side of Springfield.


Seven people were treated and released from a northern Illinois hospital after receiving minor injuries when an indoor amusement park ride malfunctioned.   Joseph Hook is acting general manager at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Utica.  

He says the people _ a mix of children and adults _ reported aches and pains on Christmas Eve after an unspecified malfunction of a tea cup ride in the hotel's indoor amusement park.  
The amusement park that's about 80 miles southwest of Chicago has about 10 rides.  

A "Windup" Toy Story

Dec 23, 2013
Rich Egger/WIUM

Dean Rockwell of Macomb has a pretty good idea what he will receive for one of his Christmas gifts each year.

“The first year I was married, my wife Jan bought me a Santa Claus windup toy. The reindeer looks like a moose pulling the sleigh,” Rockwell said with a chuckle.

“And I just enjoyed it so very much -- it was kind of like a throwback to my childhood. She got all enthused and has been buying me windup toys ever since.”

Dean and Jan Rockwell have been married for more than 40 years so his windup toys have grown into a fairly sizeable collection.


A central Illinois sheriff is offering to help residents apply online for concealed-carry firearms permits.  
The Sangamon County sheriff's office said Monday that, beginning Jan. 6, residents can use a computer in the department's records lobby. The department also will provide technical assistance. 

Eric Guitar Davis
Bob Kieser/Blues Blast Magazine via Illinois Central Blues Club

A Chicago blues guitarist who regularly performed in Springfield has been shot and killed.

Chicago police say officers found 41-year-old Eric "Guitar" Davis shot multiple times inside a vehicle in the South Shore neighborhood on Thursday morning.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Davis had spent the previous evening hanging out at a North Side blues bar called Kingston Mines.

Davis played with a group called the Troublemakers and was a fixture on Chicago's blues scene.


Springfield and Chatham hope to approval a final settlement in the coming month regarding a water contract dispute between the two communities.

This will put an end to a lawsuit over Chatham's decision to break its water contract with CWLP.

Under the deal, Chatham will pay Springfield a half million dollars in damages and it will pay the city $200,000 for a long term lease of ground where Chatham has a pump station.

In addition, Chatham will allow Springfield to transport water through Chatham's water system to Loami.

Lee Strubinger/WUIS

An Illinois town that, for decades, benefited from industry has seen that prosperity go away.  While the jobs have left, the community is left dealing with the aftermath.

Lee Strubinger visited the small town of DePue to see first hand how the town is coping:

I'm on a drive with DePue Mayor Eric Bryant, he's mayor of the village of about two thousand people along the Illinois River in Bureau County.

"The Rock Island line used to come through there. Bring ore in... and take zinc out," Bryan recalled.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has sent a team of specialists to a central Illinois nuclear plant to try to determine why a transformer failed and caused the plant to shut down.  
Officials say the incident happened Sunday night at the Clinton Nuclear Plant about 20 miles southeast of Bloomington.