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  • Labor Day Parade Works Politics Into Equation

    Labor Day celebrations across Central Illinois had an air of political uncertainty about them.

     

    While a large contingent of union members took part in festivities in Springfield Monday, they are facing uncertain prospects at the state level… with Governor Pat Quinn and Republican opponent Bruce Rauner both generating anger, especially among members of public sector unions.

     

    The grand marshals at Monday’s parade were members of the SJR Newspaper Guild… the bargaining unit set up at the State Journal-Register to negotiate a contract for writers and reporters with the newspaper’s owners, Gatehouse Media.

  • Area Accidents Cap Off Holiday Weekend Travel

    The Labor Day travel weekend came to a difficult end on area roadways Monday.

     

    One accident involved an Illinois State Police trooper. State Police say the trooper had lights and sirens activated when he entered the intersection at South Grand and Dirksen and struck a car driven by a woman from Macon. The trooper’s vehicle overturned.

     

    Both drivers were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. The accident closed the intersection for a couple of hours.

     

    Meanwhile, a three-car accident on Interstate 55 northbound near Lincoln also slowed down holiday traffic Monday afternoon.

  • Deadline for Dist. 186 Students Vaccinations Today

    If your child doesn’t have all their required shots… or the paperwork to prove it… they may not be allowed in class today.

     

    Today is the first day of school since Friday’s deadline in District 186 to show proof of required immunizations.

     

    The district has not said officially how many students may be kept out of class this morning until the proper paperwork is submitted.

  • Medical Marijuana Patient Applications Opens Today

    Today is the day patients can begin applying for authorization to purchase and use medical marijuana… at least some of them can.

     

    For now, only patients with last names starting with “A” through “L”, or their caregivers, can submit applications.

     

    Everyone else will have to wait a couple of months to start the process.

     

    And it’s still likely to be next year before anyone can actually obtain the drug for treatment of various specific conditions.

  • Despite Level 1 Trauma Center at Memorial, St. Johns Could Seek Designation

    The SIU School of Medicine says it will only provide physicians to staff a Level 1 trauma center at Memorial Medical Center… not at St. John’s.

     

    The two hospitals have alternated that designation for years… but now SIU says it wants to stick with just one, and thinks Memorial provides a better environment for that emergency treatment.

     

    The State Journal-Register reports St. John’s could still seek to remain a Level 1 center… putting that designation at both hospitals simultaneously.

     

    But it could only do so if it can find enough physicians from other places to staff the trauma center.

  • Governor's Mansion Residency Issue in Race

    So does a governor need to live in the Governor’s Mansion?

     

    Expect that debate to heat up again… now that Republican Bruce Rauner has pledged that he will do so if elected next year.

     

    It’s similar to a pledge made by Governor Pat Quinn after he took office in 2009. But since then, Quinn has only averaged about 70 nights a year at the Mansion in Springfield.

     

    Quinn now says he will continue to split time between Springfield and Chicago if he wins another term.

  • Charge: Bus Driver Drove With Passengers Still Standing on Bus's Stairway

    His job was to drive intoxicated bar patrons home… but police in Bloomington say he may have gotten too involved in his work.

     

    Steven McKenna is now charged with aggravated drunk driving.

     

    Bystanders flagged down police after McKenna reportedly started driving the limo bus with the door open and passengers still standing on the bus’s stairway.

     

    Police say his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

  • Holiday Weekend Ends Badly On Area Roadways

    Only minor injuries are reported from a rollover crash at South Grand and Dirksen on Labor Day afternoon.  Initial reports say a state police trooper in an unmarked police vehicle entered the intersection and struck another car.  The trooper’s vehicle rolled over.  The trooper and the driver of the other car were taken to the hospital for observation. A separate accident was also reported near that same location at around the same time, but it’s unclear how the two wrecks are related.

     

    Meanwhile, injuries are also reported from a three-vehicle collision on Northbound Interstate 55 near Lincoln Monday.  The wreck slowed holiday traffic to a standstill, adding to delays from road work that is also going on in that area.  There was no immediate information on the number or extent of injuries.

  • September Is National Preparedness Month

    September is National Preparedness Month. 

     

    Illinois Emergency Management Agency officials are stressing a different them for each week of the month… including how to put together an emergency kit, practicing for what to do in an emergency, and planning for how to reconnect with family members after a disaster. 

     

    More details are at ready.illinois.gov.

     

  • Question Of Whether To Live At Governor's Mansion Or Not Returns As Campaign Issue

    Is it important for a governor to live in the governor’s mansion? 

     

    That question is back on the political landscape in Illinois… with a new vow from Republican Bruce Rauner to call Springfield home if he’s elected in November. 

     

    Governor Pat Quinn… who initially said he planned to live in the Mansion… only averages about 70 nights a year there, and says he’ll continue to split his time between Springfield and Chicago if re-elected.

  • Long-Awaited Fracking Rules Released

    Long-awaited new rules on fracking have been submitted by state officials. 

     

    The updated rules from the Department of Natural Resources are intended to provide greater environmental protection and more transparency for the public when companies use hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from far below the Earth’s surface. 

     

    The proposed rules must still go through a public comment period of at least 45 days.  Oil and gas companies have been angry about lengthy delays in getting those rules in place.

     

  • Attorney General Investigating Alleged Abuse Of Buffet Restaurant Workers

    That Chinese buffet restaurant you like might be serving up some violations of labor laws. 

     

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan is investigating widespread complaints that immigrant workers at those buffet places are being subjected to long hours with no breaks, no overtime pay, and substandard living conditions. 

     

    Madigan isn’t naming any specific establishments yet, but says some of those under scrutiny are in Central Illinois.

  • Dana-Thomas House Hit By Flooding; Staff Still Assessing Damage

    Thursday’s torrential rains have caused some damage at the historic Dana-Thomas House. 

     

    The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home was closed to visitors Friday after flooding that affected the basement of the structure… where the home’s bowling alley and billiards room are located. 

     

    State historic preservation officials say fast action by staffers and cleaning crews minimized the damage… but it’s unclear yet if any of the floors or other items will need restoration work.

     

    It's unclear when the home will reopen.  Anyone hopnig to visit this weekend should call ahead at (217) 782-6776 for updates.

  • Heavy Rain Causes Flooding Through Springfield Area

    It’s becoming increasingly common in Springfield… an intense downpour followed by widespread flooding.

     

    Most of the waters have receded now, but getting around the city Thursday night proved to be enormously challenging after two-and-a-half inches of rain fell in about an hour. Numerous streets and viaducts were flooded… several cars were stranded in water up to their windows on South Sixth Street, just south of the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

     

    The Hoogland and other downtown buildings also experienced flooding as storm sewers were overwhelmed. And many people are still trying to get water out of their basements this morning.

  • State Retirees Won't Pay Health Insurance Premiums Beginning October

    State government retirees won’t have health insurance premiums deducted from their pension checks, starting October 1st.

     

    A Sangamon County judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from taking that money… but the ruling came down too late to add the money back into September checks.

     

    The state has been collecting those premiums since last year and will apparently have to refund the money with interest… although it’s not clear how or when that will happen.

     

    Judge Steven Nardulli’s ruling is based on the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision which found that free or subsidized health care benefits for public sector retirees are protected under the state constitution.


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