Illinois News Roundup for Tuesday, June 19
Published on June 19 2012 3:15 pm
Last Updated on June 19 2012 3:15 pm
Written by Greg Sapp
>>Metro East Man Died From Overdose, Not Murder
(Columbia, IL) -- A man found dead in his Metro East home is not a murder victim. The Major Case Squad has deactivated after investigators determined 45-year-old Craig Wood died of a drug overdose. His body was discovered Sunday night in Columbia. Police initially said there were signs of foul play, but now say synthetic marijuana and an unknown white substance were found in Wood's system. A full toxicology report is pending.
>>12th District Nominee To Be Named Later This Month
(Belleville, IL) -- Democratic Party chiefs are looking over applications and could name the 12th U.S. House District Democratic nominee as early as this weekend. Representatives from a dozen counties are meeting Saturday at the Chester City Hall to interview the ten applicants in a public interview process set for 9 a.m. The potential candidates are vying to replace Brad Harriman who dropped out of the race last month because of health issues.
>>West Nile Detected In Central Illinois
(Champaign, IL) -- West Nile virus is showing up in Central Illinois for the first time this year. Champaign Urbana Public Health officials collected a crow on June 12th, which tested positive for the virus. Officials expect to see an increase in West Nile activity this year because mosquitoes are more likely to bite when the weather is hot. Humans infected with the virus may experience fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.
>>Interim Principal Named In Belleville
(Belleville, IL) -- Belleville West High School is naming their assistant principal as next year's interim head. Rich Mertens will oversee the school for the 2012-13 school year, replacing Bob Dahm who left to accept another position within the district. Mertens has served Belleville West since 1989, when he signed on as a math teacher. He's held the assistant principal position since 2003. School officials say they made the move because they weren't satisfied with any of the resumes they received to fill the position permanently.
>>Major Metro East Ramp Closure
(Madison, IL) - The ramp from westbound I-55/70 to eastbound I-64 and northbound Illinois Route 3 is being closed to traffic next month. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the closure is necessary to do work associated with the new Mississippi River Bridge project. Traffic will be detoured using Illinois 203. The scheduled completion date is mid-December.
>>Union County Sues Big Banks
(Jonesboro, IL) -- Union County State's Attorney Tyler Edmonds has filed a class action lawsuit against 17 national banks, claiming they're skirting around Illinois laws and leaving homeowners in the dark about what company holds their mortgage. He's suing the group known as the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, which allows member banks to buy and sell your home mortgages amongst each other behind closed doors. Edmonds says homeowners may not even realize their mortgages have been sold. He's asking the courts to force MERS to be more transparent and pay a recording fee every time the mortgage changes hands.
>>Romney Makes Campaign Stop In Quad Cities
(Davenport, IA) -- Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney hit the Quad Cities yesterday, trying to convince voters he's the man for the job. He says President Obama has a failed record when it comes to getting the nation's economy back on track, with unemployment still above eight percent. Romney told the crowd he can help rebuild the nation and put people back to work. The Davenport, Iowa stop was part of Romney's six state "Every Town Counts" bus tour.
>>Illinois Crops Need More Rain
(Undated) -- Some Illinois farmers are pleading with mother nature for more rain. Williamson County Farm Bureau Manager Garry Jenkins tells WSIL-TV the corn is already tasseling, which isn't a good thing during a drought. Another Southern Illinois farmer, Jim Anderson, says if rain doesn't come by the end of the month, it's over. He says farmers can go ahead and mow the crop down and take the loss. Both Jenkins and Anderson say some farmers will have reduced yields and may have to rely on crop insurance to recoup some of the losses.
>>Three SIU Swimmers Headed To Olympics
(Carbondale, IL) -- Swimmers at SIU Carbondale are making a big splash in news headlines. Three are headed to London to compete in the Summer Olympics, but neither are representing the U.S. Pamela Benitez is swimming for her native country, El Salvador, Csaba Gercsak will represent Hungary, and Mazen Aziz will swim on team Egypt. One of their teammates, Justin Wolfe is looking to represent the U.S. in London. He'll compete in the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 30th in Omaha, Nebraska.
>>Cooling Centers Open
(Springfield, IL) -- The heat wave has the state taking action. Governor Quinn has opened 120 cooling centers for people who don't have air conditioning. The centers are at Illinois Department of Human Services offices across the state. They'll be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go to Ready.Illinois.gov for more information.
>>State Should Be Collecting More Taxes For Online Purchases
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois is collecting more taxes from online sales but it's still losing out on millions of dollars. A new report says the state should be collecting over 150-million dollars in sales taxes. A bill was approved last year to force online retailers with stores in Illinois to start collecting sales taxes. The Department of Revenue is appealing a judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
>>New Leaders To Attend Former Governor's Summit
(Springfield, IL) -- New leaders in Illinois will be gathering to learn more about each other and the areas they represent. Former Governor Jim Edgar is hosting a summit later this summer. Dozens of young state leaders, city leaders and members of non profits are expected to attend.
>>Calling All Survivors
(Mattoon, IL) -- Calling all survivors. Casting calls for the hit reality show Survivor are being held today in Champaign and tomorrow in Danville. Over 100 people came out to Mattoon yesterday to try out for the show. One woman came from New Hampshire after auditioning more than three-dozen times. Check out CBSSurvivorCasting.com for more information.
>>Brits Tour Southern Illinois
(Carbondale, IL) -- A group of British archaeologists are heading to Southern Illinois. The Prehistoric Society Tour will be visiting the region as part of their trip around the Eastern U.S. The group will tour the Piney Creek Rock Art site and the Millstone Bluff site on Thursday.
>>Chicago Man Sues Central Illinois Jail
(Peoria, IL) -- A Chicago man forced to go one week without his HIV medication is suing the Bureau County Jail, in Princeton. Arick Buckles claims he experienced both physical and emotional distress after the incident, plus, it put his life in jeopardy. An attorney for Buckles says the jail didn't provide the meds because they were too expensive. Buckles is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.
>>Seniors To Lose Prescription Coverage
(Aledo, IL) -- Seniors faced with losing prescription assistance should request a three month refill before the end of the month. That's according to Mercer County Senior Center Director Nancy Bowker, who says pharmacists are allowed to fill most maintenance drugs on a three month cycle. She says doing so will help the seniors get by until they can find other forms of assistance. Starting July 1st, the seniors will be responsible for their own Medicaid Part D premiums because the state has eliminated the Illinois Cares RX program.
>>Quinn Approves Actuary For Pension Systems
(Springfield, IL) -- The state is looking to hire someone to review all of the actuarial assumptions of the pensions systems. The person will be responsible for reviewing the actuarial assumptions of all the pension systems. State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie says the bill comes after concerns about relationships between investors and those hiring them. She says hiring the new actuary will give the legislature much more confidence in the systems.
>>National HIV Testing Day Coming Up
(Springfield, IL) -- More than two thousand Illinoisans were diagnosed with HIV or AIDS last year and now health officials are urging everyone to get tested. They say knowing your status puts you in control and in some cases, could help save your life. The state is participating in National HIV Testing Day on June 27th. To find a free testing location near you, call 800-AID AIDS or text IL plus your zipcode to 36363.