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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man faces up to 10 years in prison after admitting in court that he was driving impaired when he caused a 2012 wreck that killed a highway construction worker.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 36-year-old Michael Jeter of West Frankfort pleaded guilty Monday in St. Clair County to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence.
 
Authorities have said Jeter was on the sleep aid Ambien and an antihistamine at the time of the May 2012 wreck on Interstate 64.
 
Authorities say the crash killed 38-year-old contract worker Dennis Beard of Pocahontas and injured three others who were waiting in the median to paint stripes on the freeway.
 
Jeter's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 4.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The top Republican in the Illinois House is criticizing Democrats for a plan that would put $100 million in taxpayer funds toward a presidential library for Barack Obama.
 
Minority Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says it's "ironic" that Democrats have been threatening cuts in education and state services if a temporary income tax increase isn't made permanent this year. He wonders where money for a library would come from and says the state can't afford it.
 
A House committee controlled by Speaker Michael Madigan - a Chicago Democrat - voted to move the proposal forward last week when no Republicans were present. Committee member Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Republican from Mundelein planned to protest that vote Monday.
 
Madigan has said the money would not come from operating funds.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois House committee has advanced a plan to devote $100 million in state funds to help bring President Barack Obama's presidential museum and library to Chicago.
 
The committee voted unanimously Thursday following a hearing in Chicago.
 
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among several officials who spoke in favor of the funding.
 
He says the money would return dividends "well beyond" $100 million. Emanuel also says the funding would be a fitting way to welcome Obama back to his hometown.
 
Several Chicago sites - most on the city's South Side - want to become home to the library and museum. Hawaii and New York also are vying for it.
 
A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the Legislature still must determine a source for the funding.
Published in Local News
CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says the lockdown at Illinois' largest maximum security prison will remain in effect through this week.
 
   Tom Shaer says Monday that the lockdown at Menard Correctional Center southeast of St. Louis won't be lifted until an investigation is finished. The lockdown started on Friday following the discovery of a cache of crude weapons and homemade alcohol.
 
   Specifically officials found more than a dozen weapons along with gallons of homemade alcohol and juice and sugar used to make liquor.
   Officials have said IDOC is working to determine how the inmates managed to hoard the items.
 
   Authorities say there is no indication any weapons have been used recently at the prison or that inmates were drinking homemade liquor.
Published in Local News

 

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois man has been ordered to spend nine years in prison for the debilitating 2011 beating of a baby.
 
The Alton Telegraph reports that 26-year-old Matthew Fields of Hartford was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to a count of aggravated battery of a child.
 
Prosecutors say Fields was alone with the then-9-week-old baby in October 2011 when he allegedly shook and squeezed the child.
 
Authorities say the baby sustained head trauma and developmental delays.
 
Fields will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence and must register as a violent offender for 10 years.
Published in Local News
   ST. LOUIS (AP) - The number of acres Illinois farmers devote to corn crops this year is expected to dip slightly amid growers' plans to plant more soybeans statewide.
   The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual forecast released Monday shows Illinois will have roughly 11.9 million acres of corn. That's down about 1 percent from the 12 million acres planted last year. In 2012, the acreage was 12.8 million.
   The USDA says soybeans will make up the difference, with the 9.5 million acres expected to be planted in Illinois coming in 1 percent higher than last year's 9.45 million acres.
   Nationwide, the USDA expects 91.7 million acres of corn to be sown this year, down about 4 percent from last year. Soybean acreage is expected to rise about 6 percent to 81.5 million acres.
 
Published in Local News

St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The Illinois State Police are in the midst of a statewide safety crackdown.

 

The push is in memory of State Trooper James Sauter. The southern Illinois resident was killed one year ago today in an accident near Chicago. He was in his squad car, when a semi truck rear-ended his car. “Operation Sauter” will target commercial vehicles cracking down on speeding, drunk or distracted drivers, and seatbelt violations.

Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.
 
Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.
 
But supporters say the population has made a comeback.
 
Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill's sponsor.
 
He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.
 
The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposal to impose an additional tax on millionaires is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
 
A House committee voted 6-4 along party lines Thursday to approve Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposed constitutional amendment. It would tack a 3 percent surcharge onto income over $1 million.
 
The measure now advances to the House floor.
 
Madigan says the tax would raise $1 billion a year for elementary and secondary education - about $550 per student.
 
Republicans say the tax unfairly penalizes Illinois' most successful residents.
 
The issue is expected to be a focal point in the race between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner, a wealthy businessman.
 
The candidates present starkly contrasting visions of how to fix Illinois' lagging economy and improve state finances.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – Legislation that would allow minors and those with epilepsy to use medical cannabis in Illinois is one step closer to law.
 
A Senate committee passed the proposal on Tuesday without opposition.
 
State Sen. Iris Martinez is sponsoring the measure. The Democrat from Chicago says using medical marijuana improves the quality of life for minors suffering from epilepsy.
 
Supporters say consuming oil from the marijuana plant reduces seizures and doesn’t get children high. They say traditional epilepsy medicines are addictive and leave children feeling “stoned.”
 
Opponents say they’re against any measure legalizing marijuana use because it violates federal law. They also say legalizing marijuana for minors contradicts drug prevention programs.
 
The measure amending Illinois’ four-year medical cannabis pilot program now moves to the Senate floor.
Published in Local News
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