Regional

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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Regional
2:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Another Cold Night Ahead; Motorists Advised To Stay Home

Credit flickr/stinnett

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.

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Regional
7:25 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Secretary of State's Offices Closed Today

Secretary of State Jesse White
Credit 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. 

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Regional
7:16 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Road Closings in Sangamon County

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.

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Regional
5:40 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Many Weather Related Closings Across Region Today

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.

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Regional
6:10 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

UIS & Springfield 186 Closed Monday.

Credit 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,

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Regional
4:13 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

City Of Springfield Declares Snow Emergency Beginning This Weekend

Credit springfield.il.us

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:

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Regional
6:30 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Wolves Could Be Slowly Moving Back Into Illinois

Credit fws.gov

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.  

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Regional
6:39 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Thousands Of Tornado Victims Apply For Federal Help

Credit 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.  

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Regional
3:21 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Police Concerned About Concealed Carry

Credit 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.

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Regional
9:53 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Higher Speed Limits in Illinois in 2014

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.

Regional
5:57 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Amusement Ride Malfunction Injures Seven

Credit flickr

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.  

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Regional
4:27 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A "Windup" Toy Story

Dean Rockwell
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.

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Regional
2:30 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Sangamon Co. Sheriff's Office To Help With Concealed Carry Applications

Credit flickr

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. 

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Eric 'Guitar' Davis
5:41 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Blues Musician With Local Ties Shot Dead

Eric "Guitar" Davis at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.
Credit 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.

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Regional
7:18 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Springfield & Chatham Reach Tentative Settlement

Credit CWLP

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.

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Regional
10:15 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Town Faces Uncertain Future As It Deals With Pollution From The Past

The slag pile remains from years of industry in DePue
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.

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Regional
1:17 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Investigation Into Why Clinton Nuclear Plant Shut Down

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.  

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Regional
10:04 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Hope Institute Says It Has Plan To Fix Issues

Credit hopeschool.org

A Springfield facility that houses children and young adults with developmental disabilities says it has drawn up a plan to correct problems identified by state investigators.  

Illinois child welfare officials and Springfield police have been investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Hope Institute for Children and Families since November. No details have been made public.  

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Regional
10:06 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Arrests Made For Alleged Looting Of Tornado Damaged Home

Credit wikimedia commons

Three Peoria men are in custody after investigators say they were looting a tornado-damaged home in the central Illinois community of Washington.

The Pekin Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/18WoXnT ) the trio was arrested Tuesday. They're set to appear in court on Thursday.  
All three are from Peoria and being held on felony looting charges.  

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Rail
2:43 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Open House Scheduled For 3rd St. Rail Improvements

Credit WUIS

A hearing Tuesday afternoon in Springfield will explain improvements to the  3rd Street rail line.
Springfield leaders breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced rail traffic would be consolidated along 10th Street.  They had concerns of more and faster trains traveling through the heart of downtown.  But while the 10th Street corridor is being revamped, the  trains won't wait.  That means safety improvements are needed along 3rd Street.

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Regional
4:26 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Menard Co. State's Attorney Cause Of Death Identified

Kenneth Baumgarten

The Sangamon County Coroner has released more details on the cause of death for the Menard County State's Attorney.   Kenneth Baumgarten, who lived in Petersburg, died Friday night .  He was 55.

Coroner Cinda Edwards says after a review of medical documents,  her office has determined the cause of death for Kenneth Baumgarten to be Pulmonary Embolism.  She also says the death will be certified as accidental due to an injury Baumagarten sustained early in November.

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Regional
12:13 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

SIU Closes Carbondale Campus Due To Snow

Credit WSIU FM

Classes at Southern Illinois University are canceled because of a storm that's left a slick layer of ice under several inches of snow, with more wintry weather on the way.

WSIU Radio reports that some services at the 18,000-student Carbondale university were to remain open Friday, including dining services for students, the Morris Library and the student recreation center.  
University administrators called off Friday's classes because of questionable driving conditions.  

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Springfield City Government
5:06 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Mehlick Leaving Post As Springfield's Top Attorney

Credit www.springfield.il.us

Springfield's top city attorney has submitted his resignation after helping the mayor and aldermen through a difficult legal battle.

Mayor Mike Houston appointed Mehlick this summer, following the departure of former Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen.  Cullen and other city officials are named in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Springfield resident Calvin Christian.  Christian accuses them of knowingly and intentionally destroying the documents he was seeking through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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Local Government
2:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

City Of Springfield Could Settle Police File Shredding Lawsuit

Credit wikimedia commons

The City of Springfield could be close to settling a lawsuit over destruction of police records.  Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has filed an ordinance that would settle the case for $102,964.10.

Aldermen could vote on it Tuesday night.  The proposal says Calvin Christian, who filed the suit, would receive about $30,000 while his attorneys would get much of the remainder.  Christian took the city to court after documents he had sought under the Freedom of Information Act were destroyed.  The city would admit no wrongdoing under the deal.

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