Illinois

Arrest Made In Christmas Morning Robbery

Jan 21, 2016

A Chicago man is being held in the McLean County Jail, for Aggravated Robbery in connection with the Christmas morning hold up at the Shell Gas Station on North Main Street in Normal. 27-year old Darius Vaughn was arrested for the stickup following the search of a residence in the 700 block of West Orlando. He's being held in lieu of $150,000 bond. No one was injured during the robbery, which took place just after midnight on Christmas. The store clerk reported the robber used a gun.

Kiki1196 / Flickr via Creative Commons

A Peoria County judge has ruled that he didn't err when he found a man accused of murder fit for trial four years ago. Edjuan Payne was found guilty of killing Orvette Davis and sentenced to life in prison in 2012. An Illinois appeals court sent Payne's case back to Chief Judge Steve Kouri in April, taking exception with how he ruled Payne was fit for trial. Appellate judges said Kouri relied on the prosecutor and defense attorney saying a report stated Payne was fit, but that judges typically review such evidence themselves.

Fire in Homer Kills Two

Jan 21, 2016
littlevisuals / Facebook via Creative Commons

Two people have died in a house fire in Homer. Homer Fire Chief Don Happ says the early-morning fire also injured two others. Happ says the two survivors ran from the home screaming ``Get my family out of the house.'' The two were taken to a Springfield hospital for treatment. The victims weren't immediately identified. Chief Happ says the home's occupants had a fire going in a fireplace. He says one victim was found close to the front door and the other close to a bathroom. The Illinois State Fire Marshal was investigating. Firefighters responded from Homer, Ogden-Royal, St.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Illinois colleges and universities have gone seven months with zero state funding – that includes funding of MAP grants that help poor students pay tuition. Wednesday, some business and labor leaders joined students calling for lawmakers to resolve the budget stalemate.

Eddie Maloney / Creative Commons

Starting this spring, Allegiant Airlines will fly twice a week from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport to the Florida Panhandle beach city of Destin. The discount carrier announced the seasonal route at a news conference this week at the airport in southwestern Illinois. Service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport will run from June 2 to Sept. 4 and cost as little as $39 one way. This will be the fifth MidAmerica route for Allegiant, the only airline operating at the airport. It currently connects MidAmerica with Las Vegas and two other points in Florida: Orlando and Tampa.

Staff

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz expressed frustration over the current budget stalemate during his appearance on GLT's Sound Ideas. The governor and legislative leaders have gone more than seven months without being able to agree on a state spending plan. Dietz talks about that, and the social media event hosted by Illinois State in association with President Obama's State of the Union Address.

Earl R. Shumaker / Creative Commons

Officials in a northwestern Illinois community say a federal prison's hiring bump is coinciding with increased interest from real estate developers who want to know about available land. Thomson Village President Vicky Trager says inquiries about development are up. She says there's also more traffic from new workers and their families. Trager says it's been a smooth process. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says there are 237 positions filled at Thomson Correctional Center. Another 13 positions have been selected and are expected to start work within a few months.

Central States Pension Plan Proposes Reductions

Jan 13, 2016

The US Department of Treasury is holding a public sessions in Peoria Thursday to hear from retirees in the Central States Pension Plan facing a proposed reduction in benefits. Central States represents and estimated 273-thousand current and future retirees. It’s largely made of Teamsters.

School closings as of 7:25AM

Jo Naylor / Flickr

The forecast of snow accumulation late tomorrow has triggered a parking ban in both Bloomington and Normal. Vehicles are banned from all streets in the twin cities beginning tomorrow at 5 PM. In Bloomington, for snow accumulation more than 2 inches, the city plows hit all streets. In Normal, all parking is prohibited on all streets during a ban.

Get more information on the city of Bloomington's parking ban.

Officials of a suburban Chicago Christian college has begun efforts to fire a political science professor who was placed on leave after saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Telephone calls to Wheaton College for comment on the decision weren't immediately returned Tuesday. However, a statement on the school's website says Provost Stanton Jones has initiated a termination-for-cause proceeding regarding Larycia Hawkins.  

A central Illinois animal feed plant is facing a lawsuit filed by the families of two workers who died on the job.  The wrongful death lawsuit claims Agridyne LLC in Pekin should have provided safety equipment that could have prevented the deaths. 

Steve Damron / Flickr

Some Illinois drivers who have had their licenses revoked after multiple DUI convictions could get the chance to get behind the wheel again under a law that goes into effect in January. Applicants for the restricted license would have to prove they have been sober for three years.

Those who get a license will have to install a breathalyzer ignition lock in their cars, also known as a BAID device. Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz says the new law aims to make the roads safer.

Staff

Efforts to restore power to those still without electricity are continuing in McLean County. Ameren Illinois estimates 6,800 customers remain powerless following the wind and ice storm, which knocked down trees and power lines throughout the county. That's 12% of Ameren's total McLean County customer base.

Many customers are reporting they've been told by Ameren it may be as late as 10 P.M. before the lights are back on.

Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archbishop of Chicago -- the leading Catholic official in Illinois -- is becoming a prominent spokesman among American bishops for stricter gun laws. In this wide-ranging interview with WGLT's Judy Valente, Blase Cupich talks about recent street violence in Chicago as well the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, and how people of faith should respond.

Stefanie Michaelis / Facebook

A wind advisory remains in effect for McLean County until 6 this evening. In the Peoria area, a winter storm warning is in effect until 3 pm.

Nearly 900 flights have been canceled across the U.S. and another 500 have been delayed due to the large storm system moving through the middle part of the country. Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that more than a third of the cancellations were at Chicago's two main airports. Another large chunk came from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; several tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Dallas suburbs.

Body Found In Evergreen Lake

Dec 22, 2015

A car with a body in it has been located by a diving crew at Evergreen Lake. The car was located just off a road near the pump station for city water, at the north end of the lake. Tracks near the scene, headed toward the lake, prompted some fishers to notice. They mentioned it to a city employee, who notified police. There is no more information on the car, or the body right now.

Record Number Of Travelers This Holiday

Dec 21, 2015

"Dead Man's Curve" (note hand painted center line)Credit unknown / Michigan State Highway DepartmentEdit | Remove

Over the next couple of weeks, 100-Million Americans plan on traveling, and 90% of them will do so in a car or truck. Beth Mosher  of the Triple A motor club says even in Illinois, a state with plenty of air and rail travel options, most prefer traveling in an automobile.

WIU Board to Delay Decision on Budget Cuts

Dec 21, 2015

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees will wait until next month to vote on a massive budget cutting plan.  In a letter issued Tuesday to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said he wants more time to come up with a proposal that threatens the livelihood of fewer people.

“When I look at the personnel, it almost brings tears to my eyes to look at what we’re having to do here,” Dr. Thomas said in an interview with Tri States Public Radio.

Bloomington firefighters were unable to save a house that was engulfed in flames shortly after 9 PM Friday night. The home at 2309 Rainbow Ave. was destroyed. Extra firefighting equipment and assistance from the Normal Fire Department was called in to assist. 

Champaign Police Officer Embroiled In Controversy

Dec 18, 2015
Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

The city of Champaign has agreed to settle a second lawsuit filed against the Champaign police department in a case involving the same officer. The department had tried to fire Officer Matt Rush, but he’s back on patrol, thanks to a police union arbitrator.

As IPR's Hannah Meisel reports, documents just released explain why Rush kept his job.

afromusing / Flickr

WBEZ, Chicago Public Media will take over operation of 91.1 FM at midnight on Saturday.  WBEZ will pay Kankakee Community College 250-thousand dollars, and extend the college underwriting considerations for 5 years.  The two parties finalized the agreement yesterday afternoon.

City council members have signed off on a $225,000 settlement to a second lawsuit that accuses a Champaign police officer using excessive force. The council approved the settlement unanimously yesterday amid a demonstration that saw about 150 protesters march from the police station to the city building. They were calling for the dismissal of officer Matt Rush and the approval of a civilian review board. Rush faces separate lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force filed by three plaintiffs.

A suburban Chicago teenager accused of beating a Sikh man has pleaded guilty to a hate crime. The 17-year-old from the village of Willowbrook pleaded guilty Dec. 7. The confrontation occurred in September along a road in Darien. Fifty-three-year-old Inderjit Mukker of Darien says the teen was cutting him off and calling him a ``terrorist'' and ``Bin Laden.'' Prosecutors say when they both pulled over the teen punched Mukker in the face. The Sikh Coalition rights group says Mukker suffered a broken cheekbone and cuts requiring stiches. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8 in juvenile court.

Snow Still Possible For Christmas

Dec 16, 2015

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says a "white Christmas'' may still be ahead.  He says that, in general, the odds of at least an inch of snow on the ground on Dec. 25 are about 40 to 60 percent in the northern third of Illinois, 20 to 40 percent in central Illinois, and zero to 20 percent in southern Illinois.  One of the biggest Christmas Day snowfalls was in Chicago in 1951 with 17 inches. Rockford had 14 inches of snow in 1951 and again in 2000.  Angel works at the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Fire officials say they do not yet have a damage estimate for a manufacturing plant outside Galesburg that caught fire yesterday afternoon.  The call for a fire at a Midwest Awnings Inc. plant went out around 2:30 p.m. on Monday and area fire crews responded. The company has a manufacturing plant in Cameron, which is a few miles from the Galesburg Municipal Airport. 

Two people have died in a head-on crash near Peoria.  Authorities responded to the scene late yesterday afternoon after a vehicle traveling eastbound on U.S. Route 24 in Bartonville went across the westbound lanes, up an embankment and then across the westbound lanes again before colliding with another vehicle.  

The victim's identities weren't available Monday night.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Drops

Dec 14, 2015

Amtrak says that its passenger numbers in Illinois fell to about 1.3 million in the latest fiscal year, or a decline of about 4 percent.  The passenger rail service attributes the drop to low gasoline prices and high-speed rail construction between Chicago and St. Louis. The construction forced periodic use of chartered buses on the route.  

Missing Man Found Dead

Dec 11, 2015
Bloomington Police Dept.

Bloomington police say the body of a man reported missing has been located. The body of 21 year old Ryan Kindig was found yesterday afternoon in a shed on his property. Police say there is nothing to indicate foul play. Kindig had last been seen in Champaign last Saturday. He was reported missing by family members the next day. He was last spotted in Bloomington Friday after an argument with family members.

Bloomington Police Dept.

Bloomington police are seeking the public's help in locating a man who was last seen by acquaintances last weekend. 21-year old Ryan Kindig was last seen in Champaign on December 5th. He was reported missing by family members the next day. He was last spotted in Bloomington Friday, Dec. 4th after an argument with family members.

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