Appellate Court Agrees AFSCME Workers Owed Money

September 30, 2014 Comments off

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois appellate court has ruled that back wages owed thousands of state government workers from 2011 to 2013 must be paid. 

A panel of judges from the First District Appellate Court found that members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees should get the back pay and the Legislature’s failure to appropriate enough money to cover the raises is not a reason to renege on them. 

The ruling supports an independent arbitrator’s decision that the government’s failure to pay up violated the union contract. A circuit court agreed the money should go out. 

The appellate ruling rejects an appeal by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond.

The ruling instructs a circuit court to follow the arbitrator’s decision.

Odin Man Arrested for Aggravated Battery and Hate Crime

September 30, 2014 Comments off

A 27-year-old Odin man is being held in the Marion County Jail on two counts of aggravated battery doing great bodily harm and two counts of hate crime.  

Centralia Police had been seeking Dustin Groff of Perkins Street since an August 23rd incident where Groff allegedly entered the home of 27-year-old Eric Gordon and 34-year-old Michael Honecker, Junior on North Franklin Street unannounced and attacking both of them. Groff is accused of making homophobic remarks to the two men during the altercation.  Both Gordon and Honecker were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia for treatment of their injuries.   

Groff had left the Gordon and Honecker home before Centralia Police arrived and was not located until a traffic stop late Monday night by Central City Police.   

Groff is accused of punching Honecker in the face and knocking him to the floor after becoming verbally aggressive.  After Gordon tried to intervene, Groff allegedly went out the door and retrieved a shovel.  He allegedly hit Gordon in the back with the shovel.   Gordon was allegedly struck a second time with the shovel after becoming trapped against a wall.  

When taken into custody Monday night, Groff denied making any homophobic comments and said the incident was being blown out of proportion.   

Police Beat for Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

September 30, 2014 Comments off

A 27-year-old Sandoval man remained in the Marion County Jail Tuesday after being arrested by Central City Police for alleged driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance.  Bruce Meskil of North Vine was stopped after Centralia Police received a report of a reckless driver.  After observing the vehicle swerving on the roadway, Meskil was stopped on U.S. 51 at the Community Beech Road.  A search resulted in recovery of narcotic pills.  

28-year-old Joshua Williamson of East 5th in Centralia remained in custody after being arrested by Centralia Police for driving on a revoked license.   

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of prescription drugs from the home of Kenneth Powell of Linn Street while he was away from his home Monday morning.  

USDA: Illinois Corn Harvest Continues Lagging

September 30, 2014 Comments off

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois’ corn harvest continues creeping along, though recently favorable weather enabled growers to spend more time bringing in the crop.

The USDA said Monday in its weekly crop progress update that just 14 percent of the state’s corn crop has been harvested, 2 percentage points higher than a year ago but down from 20 percentage points over the previous half decade.  However, the recent lack of meaningful precipitation statewide combined with above-normal temperatures, made all of last week suitable for field work.

Corn that has reached maturity came in at 80 percent, up 5 percentage points from the norm. 

About 83 percent of the crop has been rated good to excellent, while 78 percent of the soybean crop was considered in those two categories.

Illinois Sending Approvals to Marijuana Patients

September 30, 2014 Comments off

CHICAGO (AP) – Officials say the first approval letters have been sent to Illinois patients who’ve applied to use medical marijuana legally.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold confirmed Monday that about a dozen letters have gone out as the state reviews applications from patients, which have come in by the thousands.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jim Champion of Somonauk received an approval letter last week. He’s a 48-year-old veteran with multiple sclerosis, a qualifying condition under the new law.  

Illinois is taking applications from patients whose last names begin with A through L.  Patients whose last names begin with M through Z are asked to wait until Nov. 1 to apply.

Online: Medical Cannabis Pilot Program website:

Illinois-Owned Planes to be Sold in Online Auction

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Illinois Department of Central Management Services plans to relist six state-owned airplanes for sale on an online auction site after a previous attempt to lure buyers brought bids for only two planes. 

Agency spokeswoman Alka Nayyar tells the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers ( ) that the auction for the unsold planes will have a new closing date of Dec. 15.

Gov. Pat Quinn ordered the sale of half of the state’s airplanes as an effort to save money when he approved the 2015 state budget in June. The planes up for sale have an appraised value of $4 million. 

Bidders who want to buy the planes must meet a base price. For example the minimum bid for a 1999 Beechcraft King Air 250 was about $2.5 million.

FBI: Chicago Man Threatened Beheadings at SIU-C

September 30, 2014 Comments off

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Federal investigators say a Chicago man accused of mailing threats of rapes, killings, bombings and beheadings at a Southern Illinois University campus he attended brought himself to authorities’ attention.

Investigators arrested 21-year-old Derrick Dawon Burns on Monday on eight charges related to the mailings over a yearlong span in 2012 and last year. 

Online court records don’t show whether Burns has an attorney. He’s jailed without bond, pending a hearing Wednesday.

The FBI says Burns drew investigators’ scrutiny in July when he separately called SIU-Carbondale police and the FBI and insisted a man called “Big Russ” told him about the threats.

The FBI alleges investigators traced those calls back to Burns and fingerprints on four of the seven threatening letters later were matched to Burns. 


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