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  • Montgomery County Cub Scouts Expected to Recover

    Three Cub Scouts in Montgomery County are expected make a full recovery after being injured in an experiment at a meeting in Raymond on Monday evening. In that incident, police say that the scouts and a parent leader were mixing boric acid and antifreeze in a fire pit in attempt to produce a flame of a certain color. The mixture exploded, resulting in burns on the arms and hands of the victims, including the parent supervising the experiment.

  • Rauner Takes Poll Leads

    With two weeks to go before Election Day, the polls are starting to shift toward Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. In the latest Rasmussen and Chicago Tribune polls, Rauner has come from as many as eleven points behind in the previous poll – taken at the end of September – to take a small lead on incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. The newest Rasmussen poll, released on Thursday, shows Rauner with a one-point lead, and the latest Tribune poll, also released on Thursday, has Rauner up by two points.

  • Urban Flooding Expert: Fixes Won't Be Cheap, But Better Than Alternative

    An expert on urban flooding warns that long-range fixes to the problem could be expensive… but says people are already paying the price in flood damage, so investing in infrastructure upgrades makes sense in the long run. 

     

    Harriet Festing says there are other things that homeowners can do immediately to upgrade their own properties and steer flood waters away from their homes and basements. 

     

    Festing says a growing number of major rain events… and an increase in urban surfaces covered by concrete and asphalt… will likely guarantee that the urban flooding problem gets worse before it gets better.

     

    Festing will take part in a public meeting on the urban flooding problem this evening, starting at 6pm in the Sangamon County Boardroom downtown.  It will be proceeded by an open house from 4:30 to 5:45pm at the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission offices in the County Building.

     

  • Unemployment Plunges In Springfield

    Springfield’s unemployment rate took a big drop in September… down from the previous month and from the same period one year earlier. 

     

    The 5.7% jobless rate was second-best in the state, just a tenth of a point higher than Bloomington-Normal.  It compares to a 6.5% rate in August… and 7.5% in September of 2013.

     

    State officials say Springfield has added 2100 jobs in the past year.

     

  • Manar School Funding Bill To Be Sidelined Until Next Year

    State Senator Andy Manar’s school funding revamp now appears to be on hold until next spring… after a new legislature is seated.  That's according to a report in the Daily Herald newspaper.

     

    Manar’s bill would allocate most school funding dollars on the basis of need… which would result in state funding being diverted from wealthier school districts to poorer ones.  That has fueled opposition from lawmakers in the Chicago suburbs, and led the bill’s House sponsor to say she wants to rework the bill and try again early next year.

     

  • SJ-R Reporters Seek Public Support In Contract Negotiations

    State Journal-Register reporters will take to the streets next week, trying to drum up public support for their effort to reach a deal on a contract with the paper’s corporate owners. 

     

    Members of the United Media Guild are demanding pay raises for the first time in seven years… and note that GateHouse Media has paid seven-figure bonuses to some executives during that time. 

     

    The rally will be staged outside the newspaper’s offices on South Ninth Street during the noon hour Monday.

  • Oberweis Calls On Durbin To Release Internal Sex Harassment Report

    U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis is calling on incumbent Dick Durbin to release an internal investigation into claims that a longtime Durbin aide harassed a female co-worker. 

     

    The woman did not file a sexual harassment complaint… and was ultimately fired after writing a book and accepting an advance in violation of Senate ethics rules. 

     

    The internal investigation reportedly cleared Mike Daly of the harassment claim, but he was reassigned so that he no longer supervised other employees.  Oberweis says that report has never been released, and asks what Durbin is hiding.

     

  • Historic Lincoln-Era Menard County Census Discovered

    Menard County officials have discovered a copy of the county’s 1840 census… one which references several key figures in the life of young Abraham Lincoln. 

     

    The Chicago Tribune reports the handwritten census lists residents of the newly-created county, which had been officially established one year earlier.  They include Lincoln associates like James Rutledge, who urged him to pursue a political career. 

     

    Lincoln himself was not in the census, having left Menard County for Springfield in 1837.

  • Court-Appointed Monitor To Review IDOT Hiring

    A court-appointed monitor will look into hiring irregularities at the Illinois Department of Transportation, a ruling that challenges Governor Pat Quinn’s assertion that he’s already addressed the problem. 

     

    Cook County Judge Sidney Schenkier ruled that an independent review is needed to make sure that laws against political hiring are being followed.  The ruling came in a case that resulted from an investigation by News/Talk 970 WMAY’s watchdog partner, the Better Government Association, which found people were improperly given jobs at IDOT based on political connections instead of merit. 

     

    Quinn’s Republican opponent Bruce Rauner says the ruling shows Quinn is, quote, “corrupt and cannot be trusted to clean up state government.”

     

  • Political Reporter Resigns, Claims Paper Caved To Pressure From Rauner

    A highly-regarded political reporter based in Springfield has quit his job… and is accusing the newspaper’s owner of caving in to pressure from Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner. 

     

    Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney was pulled off his beat for several days this month after the Rauner camp tried to stop a critical story prior to publication… and accused McKinney of a conflict of interest because his wife works for a PR firm that has Democratic clients. 

     

    McKinney notes that shortly after the controversy, the paper abruptly reversed its position against endorsing candidates and threw its support to Rauner.  He says the incident is having a “chilling effect” on reporting.

     

  • Durbin, Oberweis Meet In Only Debate

    The candidates for U.S. Senate have met in their one and only debate of the fall campaign. 

     

    Republican challenger Jim Oberweis says Illinoisans and all Americans have seen their personal finances get worse while Dick Durbin has served as one of the top Democrats on Capitol Hill.  Durbin says he wants to boost American job prospects by rewarding companies who keep jobs here rather than moving them overseas. 

     

    And there was one surprising area of agreement between the two… when Oberweis said he would support a federal law legalizing same-sex marriage.  He has opposed it as a state senator.

     

  • Another Lincoln-Era Home Set For Demolition

    Another Lincoln-era home in Springfield is about to meet the wrecking ball… unless someone steps up to take on the cost of repairing and moving the building. 

     

    The State Journal-Register reports a hearing is set for November 12th on the city’s request for a demolition order against the crumbling Condell House… which was built on South Fourth Street in 1842.  Located across from the Governor’s Mansion, the home has partially caved in… and it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to short it up and relocate it. 

     

    Local preservationists are hoping a benefactor will step forward to take on the project… but admit it’s a long shot.

  • Raise Illinois Coalition Encourages Early Voting

    Members of the statewide coalition that supports a non-binding referendum on the November ballot to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour are urging voters to take advantage of early voting procedures across the state.

    A spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union told the press that many of those workers that would be affected by a potential minimum wage increase work multiple jobs and may not be available to vote on November 4th and that early voting opportunities are “critical”. The Raise Illinois coalition is touting a study that suggests that 1 in 5 Illinoisians would get a raise, if the minimum wage were to increase from the current $8.25/hour.

  • Judge Orders Court-Appointed Monitor To Oversee IDOT Hiring

    A court-appointed monitor will be put in place at the Illinois Department of Transportation to look into the department’s hiring practices and ensure that laws against political hiring are being followed. 

     

    A judge ordered that monitor over the objections of Governor Pat Quinn, who says his administration has corrected hiring problems at IDOT, making the additional oversight unnecessary. 

     

    Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner says the ruling shows that Quinn is “corrupt and can’t be trusted.”

  • Magro Aiming For Memorial Day Opening

    The owner of a retail meat and meat processing operation hopes to be open for business in Springfield by Memorial Day 2015.

     

    Tony Magro received City Council approval Tuesday night for his operation, which will focus mostly on retail sales but which will also slaughter and process livestock on a small scale one day per week.

     

    Magro says the former Eagle Supermarket and Dane's Discount site needs extensive renovations, but he hopes to have the work completed and be ready to open by late next spring.

     

     



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