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  • Shots Fired, Crashes Keep Police Busy

    It was a busy Wednesday for area police. 

     

    Three people were injured when someone fired shots that struck a car on Stevenson Drive Wednesday afternoon, causing that car to collide with another vehicle.  Two people in the car were injured, and so was a bystander. 

     

    Police also dealt with an overturned semi that closed I-55 exit ramps at Sangamon Avenue for several hours, and responded to another accident with injuries at Old Jacksonville and Archer Elevator Roads Wednesday evening.

     

  • Details Still Scarce In Police Shooting Of Man In Lincoln Tavern

    State police are still withholding details of an incident in which an armed man was fatally shot by police in Lincoln Tuesday night. 

     

    62-year-old Donald Letterle was pronounced dead at the scene of that shooting in the Glass House Tavern on Pulaski Street.  Police say Letterle was in an altercation with a woman inside the establishment when police arrived. 

     

    But authorities haven’t said yet what caused an officer to open fire… or how many times Letterle was hit.

     

  • GOP Senator Says Warnings Of School Funding Cuts Is A ''Charade''

    A Republican state senator says Democratic predictions of dramatic cuts in school funding are, quote, a “charade.” 

     

    Democrats say schools will lose hundreds of millions of dollars next year unless the temporary income tax increase is made permanent.

     

    Senator Dale Righter of Mattoon says that claim assumes no money can be cut elsewhere in the budget… but he says continuing fraud problems in Medicaid prove more cuts can be made.

     

  • No Charges To Be Filed In Peoria Fake Twitter Case

    The mayor of Peoria is defending the response to a fake Twitter account… including a police raid on the home where the spoof account originated. 

     

    Mayor Jim Ardis says he was not involved in the police decision to raid the home, but also says he has a right not to have someone pretending to be him.  The fake account, which included off-color jokes and profanity, was not initially labeled as a parody.  It was eventually shut down by Twitter, even before police raided the home.

     

    Authorities now say no one will be charged in the case.

     

  • Rauner Calls Out Quinn On Patronage, Term Limits

    Republican Bruce Rauner says a lawsuit accusing Governor Pat Quinn of political hiring violations should come as no surprise. 

     

    Rauner says Quinn has a long history of political hires and patronage, dating back to his work in the Dan Walker administration in the 1970s.  A Chicago attorney is suing Quinn, saying he improperly reclassified dozens of IDOT jobs so that political hires could be put in those positions.

     

    Rauner is also upping the ante in his call for term limits.  He’s already proposed a constitutional amendment that would impose eight-year limits on state lawmakers… and now the GOP nominee for governor is endorsing a separate proposed amendment to put a similar cap on Executive Branch officers. 

     

    Rauner says he will serve no more than two terms if elected… and is calling on Governor Pat Quinn to support that term limit proposal, too.

  • Man Fatally Shot By Lincoln Police; ISP Investigating

    A man is dead after being shot by a Lincoln police officer late Tuesday. 

     

    Illinois State Police say the man was armed and was involved in a physical altercation with a female at a location on Pulaski Street.  Lincoln police arrived and "engaged" the male suspect. 

     

    He was shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The female was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.  State Police are investigating the incident.

  • Calvin Christian Arrested For Criminal Trespass, Says Doesn't Expect Charges

    Springfield police have once again arrested the man who is accusing them in court of a campaign of harassment against him.

     

    Calvin Christian was booked into the Sangamon County Jail Tuesday after being accused of criminal trespass.

     

    Christian tells 970 WMAY News that he was arrested after his girlfriend called police, because Christian allegedly refused to leave her driveway.

     

    Christian was later released, and says he was told that no charges will be filed.

     

    Springfield city authorities confirm that Christian was arrested, but offered no further comment.

  • Lawsuit Claims Hundreds of IDOT Jobs Are Political Hires

    A Chicago attorney has filed a federal lawsuit, accusing Governor Pat Quinn of improperly hiring hundreds of IDOT employees on the basis of political considerations.

     

    Michael Shakman… whose lawsuit years ago resulted in bans on political patronage for Chicago and Cook County jobs… says the Quinn administration improperly reclassified some IDOT jobs as exempt from patronage rules.

     

    Shakman says anyone who was improperly hired should lose their jobs.

     

    An IDOT spokesman says the department conducted an internal review and found about 50 positions had been improperly reclassified… and in the future, political hiring for those positions will be prohibited.

  • Alderman McMenamin Says Council Lacks Leadership and Focus on Pension Crisis

    Springfield Alderman Joe McMenamin is still on the offensive against Mayor Mike Houston and his City Council colleagues, accusing them of a lack of leadership and a lack of action in dealing with the city’s pension crisis.

     

    Springfield has a $230 million unfunded liability in police and fire pensions.

     

    McMenamin says Houston should have taken a get-tough approach with employee unions to help lower that pension liability… and says aldermen should have held the mayor’s feet to the fire.

     

    And McMenamin repeated his contention that the pension crisis won’t get any better unless voters install a new mayor and a number of new aldermen in the 2015 elections.

  • Happy Hollow To Get Makeover, Including Permanent Amphitheater

    Illinois State Fair officials say Happy Hollow will never go back to being the home of the fair’s carnival rides.

     

    But they hope a makeover of the area just inside the main gate will help a new generation of fairgoers make different memories.

     

    Fair officials announced a three-to-five year makeover plan for Happy Hollow Tuesday, including plans for a permanent amphitheater.

     

    Tuesday’s fair preview also included more Grandstand announcements, including a show by rapper Pitbull and the return of the free Million Dollar Quartet concert.

     

    Two Grandstand dates still haven’t been booked.

  • State Fair Announces More Grandstand Dates, Happy Hollow Makeover

    A Grandstand favorite is returning… and a beloved part of past Illinois State Fairs will get an extensive makeover.  Those are among the announcements made by fair officials in a preview of the 2014 event. 

     

    Fair manager Amy Bliefnick filled in some more of the blanks for the Grandstand lineup… announcing the return of the popular, free Million Dollar Quartet concert on the Monday of the fair.  Cuban-American rapper Pitbull will also be a Grandstand headliner. 

     

    And Bliefnick announced a three-to-five year plan to redesign Happy Hollow, with new landscaping and plans for a permanent amphitheater in the area that used to be home to the fair’s carnival rides.

  • McMenamin Rips Mayor, Aldermen Again On Pension Crisis

    The rift at Springfield City Hall is getting to be almost as wide as the gap between the city’s police and fire pension obligations and the money available to pay for it. 

     

    Alderman Joe McMenamin continues to chastise Mayor Mike Houston and his fellow aldermen for failing to take adequate steps over the past three years to address the funding shortfall. 

     

    Houston this week suggested “revenue enhancements” may be necessary to fix the $230 million unfunded pension liability.  But McMenamin says there needs to be a wage freeze and more benefit changes before there’s any talk of higher taxes.  And he’s repeating his contention that nothing is likely to change until there’s a new mayor and City Council in place.

  • House Committee Will Revote On Obama Library Funding

    An Illinois House committee will hold another vote on a proposal to set aside $100 million to bring the Obama Presidential Library to Chicago. 

     

    The measure was approved by a House committee last week on a unanimous vote… but only because Democrats on the committee used a procedural move to use an attendance roll call from the previous day as the official vote tally on the library funding.  That resulted in some Republican lawmakers being listed as “yes” votes, even though they weren’t in attendance. 

     

    Speaker Mike Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown says the revote coming up on Monday should put the controversy over the vote to rest once and for all.  But critics still object to the high price tag for the project.

  • WSEC-TV To Experience Broadcast Interruptions

    Many viewers of Springfield’s public TV station will see some periodic interruptions in programming over the next couple of weeks. 

     

    Crews will be working on the WSEC tower in Franklin, replacing lighting that was damaged by lightning strikes early this year.  The work starts Monday, weather permitting, and will require the transmitter to be shut down at times during the day. 

     

    That will cut off the signal to anyone watching over the air, on satellite TV or on Mediacom cable… although viewers with Comcast cable will continue to get a direct feed of the station.  The project is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

  • School Board Hears Concerns Over Late Start Proposal

    A proposal to start classes in District 186 an hour late, one day per week, is up in the air after concerns were voiced by parents and school board members.

     

    That one hour per week would be used for teacher professional development.

     

    But a meeting with a small group of parents found about half either somewhat or strongly opposed to the idea, because of the complications it would cause for parents trying to balance work demands and their child's school schedule.

     

    School board members are also concerned, with some saying they would prefer a one-hour early dismissal once per week.

     

    Others say they want more community input before the calendar must be finalized in mid-June.

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