Illinois | WGLT

Illinois

Headlines from around the state, curated by the WGLT newsroom. If you want more state news, listen to Illinois Public Radio's The 21st on Mondays-Thursdays at 11 a.m., and Statewide at 11 a.m. Fridays.

Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Winter weather is causing cancelations. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 9:00 p.m. for Bloomington-Normal: (this list will be updated)

McLean County Museum of History

ISU Black History Cultural Dinner

State Farm Insurance

The Normal Theater

Illinois State University

Children's Discovery Museum

Unit 5

Central Catholic High School
Calvary Catholic High School

Cornerstone Christian Academy

Kelly Lenz / Ka. Ag Network

  A new Purdue University study says grain bin entrapments and other confined space accidents on the nation's farms fell to their lowest level in a decade last year. The study shows 47 entrapments in grain bins and other confined spaces in 2015. That's 34 percent less than 2014's 71 entrapments and the fewest since 46 were recorded in 2006. Purdue says 25 people died last year in entrapments, down from 31 in 2014. Bill Field, a Purdue professor of agricultural safety and health, says many nonfatal entrapments go unreported each year because there's no mandatory national reporting system.

Shooting Victim Father Seeks Photos

Feb 16, 2016
Steven Z / Flickr via Creative Commons

The father of a 21-year-old Carbondale woman killed in a 2012 shooting has won a legal ruling to obtain photographs related to her death. The Illinois Attorney General's Office has ordered Illinois State Police to provide Larry Young with photos from its investigation of his daughter Molly's death at the home of her ex-boyfriend, a former Carbondale police dispatcher. Molly Young's case remains open after a special prosecutor couldn't determine whether a single gunshot to her head was an accident, suicide or homicide.

PAAR / Facebook via Creative Commons

A newspaper report says a man who's serving 15 years in prison for running an underage prostitution operation did so out of an apartment obtained with the help of the Peoria Police Department. The Peoria Journal Star reports Matthew Petrakis had been in close contact with the police department for months before his May 2015 arrest on prostitution-related charges.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

The McLean County Coroner has identified the man struck and killed by a train early Monday morning.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Money keeps state government going. From services to employee paychecks. So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover? Comptroller Leslie Munger says she is asked often if the state could run out of money.

Munger says, "Every single day we run out of money. We pay as much as we can on that given day and then we have to wait for the next day. So when we make decisions about how to pay our bills, we are looking at today do we pay foster care or do we send the education payment?"

New Law Targets Human Trafficking

Feb 4, 2016
United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking / Flickr via Creative Commons

A new law is requiring many Illinois businesses to post information about a human trafficking hotline in an attempt to curb what officials call ``modern-day slavery.'' The Illinois Department of Human Services says it's working with the state labor department and the attorney general's office to raise awareness of the problem. Under the law that took effect Jan. 1, businesses ranging from bars to truck stops to job recruitment centers must post the number for the National Human-Trafficking Resource Center hotline near a public entrance or other location where employees will see it.

John H. White / National Archives and Records Administration

A nonprofit research group says poverty rates in Illinois are up to three times higher for racial minorities. The Heartland Alliance's research arm released a report Wednesday outlining significant racial disparities for income, unemployment, birth rates and housing, among other things. The 44-page document is called ``Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty,'' and looks at institutional racism in the state. The report says unemployment rates are 1.4 to 2.4 times higher for minorities than for whites.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

A federal jury has convicted a former Chicago official on all counts for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company. Jurors returned with a guilty verdict on all 20 counts this afternoon. They began deliberating Monday.

Panhandlers Sue City of Chicago

Jan 25, 2016
JeremyA / Facebook via Creative Commons

A lawsuit brought by panhandlers who say they lose up to $10 a day because authorities bar them from a popular public square in Chicago is set to go to trial. The in Chicago federal court is a rare instance of jurors being asked to decide the issue of panhandlers' rights. The panhandlers say authorities violate their constitutional rights. The defendants include the Cook County Sheriff's Department, whose deputies help with Daley Plaza security. It argues the prohibition at the site outside an Illinois courthouse is justified, including on safety grounds.

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.

Chicago Archbishop Says Gun Control Is Pro-Life

Dec 29, 2015
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. 

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