>>Illinois Senators Behind Springfield Rail Improvements
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' senators and two U.S. representatives are sending a letter supporting Springfield railroad projects. The letter from Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Congressmen Rodney Davis and Aaron Schock goes to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It backs federal funds for railroad consolidation.
>>Man Who Disappeared Found Dead
(Springfield, IL) -- The Sangamon County's Coroner's Office is saying a body found during a search and rescue training mission is 57-year-old Timothy P. Ryan. He disappeared June 3rd in Southern View. The body was found yesterday in a wooded area near Scheels.
>>Website Service For Springfield's City Water Light And Power
(Springfield, IL) -- Customers of Springfield's City Water Light and Power are getting a new and improved online site. Customers can get to their accounts, receive and pay bills, or send a request for service. The website is cwlp.com.
>>Urbana Thanks Retiring School Superintendent
(Urbana, IL) -- The Urbana community is taking time to thank retiring Urbana Superintendent of Schools Preston Williams. Community members showed up at yesterday's school board meeting and suggested some day naming a facility after him. The "News-Gazette" reports Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center Director Janice Mitchell says Williams is "a living legend." He'll be the honored guest at an open house Sunday, June 30th at Stone Creek Banquet Center.
>>Downtown Springfield Getting Artwork
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' capital city is getting a new downtown look. The city has agreed to a project called "Artification." Local artists will create large murals. The first will be the image of Abraham Lincoln on the Alamo building near Fifth and Jefferson streets.
>>Blagojevich Attorney Wants More Time For Appeal
(Chicago, IL) -- Rod Blagojevich wants more time to file an appeal. His attorney Leonard Goodman says they need an extra nine days to get the motion in, pushing the date back to at least July 3rd. Goodman says he and his colleagues have sifted through more than ten-thousand pages of transcripts and dozens of recorded conversations preparing for a new trial. Blagojevich is serving a 14 year sentence for corruption but maintains his innocence, and says he’ll be vindicated during the appeal.
>>Special Session May Be A Bust
(Springfield, IL) -- Lawmakers are back in Springfield today with the hopes of finding some common ground on pension reform. But, the buzz around the capital is that they won’t actually reach a deal. They’re expected to send the issue to a small group of lawmakers in a conference committee to let them hash out the details. The first conference committee hearing could be as early as this Friday and a new vote on pensions is expected sometime next month.
>>Democratic Senators Want Quinn To Sign Concealed Carry Bill
(Springfield, IL) -- The concealed carry fight seems to be lingering on but several state senators are calling on Governor Quinn to go ahead and put an end to the debate. Gary Forby, Andy Manar, Mike Jacobs, Mattie Hunter, Dave Koehler, and Pat McGuire say Quinn should take quick action on the bill in order to prevent a public safety crisis. The courts have ruled the state’s concealed carry ban unconstitutional and at least five state’s attorneys say they won’t prosecute people for carrying a gun in public, so long as they have a valid FOID card. Lawmakers had until June 9th to get law on the books, but the deadline has been extended to July 9th. Lisa Madigan has until July 22nd to decide if she’ll appeal.
>>Smoking Down Among Adults
(Undated) -- Fewer people are smoking nowadays. A recent study reveals the number of adult smokers has dropped by about three percentage points over the past couple years, down to about 18-percent. Michael Mark, with Helpline Services, says Illinois is right in line with the national stat. In fact, he says more than 92-thousand people have called the Tobacco Quit Line since July of last year. Anyone who needs help kicking the habit can call 1-866-Quit-Yes.
>>Illinoisans Get Chicken Pox At Higher Rates Than Others
(Undated) -- People in Illinois get chicken pox at higher rates than many others across the nation. The group “Sickweather” puts the state at number three when it comes to chicken pox cases. Sickweather tracks the cases through social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. More than 40-percent of the cases are reported during warm-weather months. Chicken pox can lead to other serious diseases if not properly treated.
>>Illinois Elephants May Be Shipped To New Home
(Rock Island, IL) -- Two elephants in Rock Island might soon be shipped off to a new home. Niabi Zoo Director Marc Heinzman says the elephants may need more room to roam. He says the Illinois weather just isn’t suitable for the elephants, because they have to be indoors during the winters. Heinzman says shipping the animals to a new home is just a proposal for now, the County Board has to vote and approve the plan.
>>Madigan Gets More Time To Mull Concealed Carry Appeal
(Springfield, IL) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has granted Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's request for more time to consider an appeal of the ruling that struck down the state's ban on concealed weapons. The court has agreed to push the deadline to July 22nd. Governor Quinn has been given until July 9th to decide whether to sign a concealed carry bill sent to him by the legislature last month. Madigan wanted to wait until Quinn acted before deciding on an appeal because his signature on the bill would make an appeal moot.
>>County Prosecutor Admits Using Racially Insensitive Language
(Marion, IL) -- The State's Attorney in Williamson County is admitting he improperly used racially charged language in the murder trial of an African-American man two years ago. Charles Granati says he would agree to a new trial for Marcus Marshall, who was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to 85 years in prison. During the closing arguments at the trial, Granati made reference to "that community" when speaking of the black neighborhood, and contrasted it with "our white world." A new jury will hear evidence against Marshall, who is accused of shooting an unarmed man seven times.
>>CUB Says Most Cellphone Users Buy Too Much Data
(Chicago, IL) -- The Citizens Utility Board says you're probably wasting money on your cellphone plan. The consumer advocacy group says the average Illinoisan overpays for a smartphone data plan by about 194-dollars a year by buying access to more data than actually needed. CUB's study finds that only a small percentage of smartphone users ever incur those "overage" charges for using more data than their plan allows. The group recommends users analyze their data usage and make sure the plan they have fits their actual use.
>>Rockford Standoff Ends Peacefully
(Rockford, IL) -- The decision by a Rockford police SWAT team to wait out an armed man who had barricaded himself in a house proved correct. Police say 32-year-old Rashad Pelzer surrendered to police after a seven-hour standoff. Before dawn, police were called to the scene after a child phoned in a domestic battery complaint, and found a woman who said Pelzer battered her and was armed with a handgun. Pelzer initially spoke with police but then cut off communication until he surrendered at about 1:30 p.m.