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   LITCHFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Two Interstate 55 rest stops in central Illinois now bear the name of a state trooper killed on the freeway last year.

   Kyle Deatherage's family joined Illinois State Police in dedicating signs Thursday that designate the rest stops near Litchfield in Deatherage's honor. The action was approved earlier this year by Illinois' General Assembly.

   Deatherage was a 32 year old motorcycle trooper when he was hit and killed by a passing tractor-trailer last November during a traffic stop along the highway, about 45 miles south of Springfield.

   The trucker, 52 year old Johnny Felton Jr. of Hinesville, GA, is charged with reckless homicide and operating a commercial motor vehicle without a proper license. He has pleaded not guilty.

   Deatherage was a married father of two children and had been a trooper since May 2009.

 
Published in Local News

   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The chief federal judge in southern Illinois is warning citizens not to fall for a telephone scam involving jury duty and possible identity theft.

   U.S. District Judge David Herndon says the caller poses as a court official and threatens prosecution for shirking jury duty. The caller then tries to extract confidential data from the call's recipient.

   Herndon warns the calls don't involve actual court officials, are bogus and could be used for identity theft and fraud if the person called divulges such things as his or her Social Security or credit card numbers.

   The judge adds federal courts don't require anyone to provide sensitive information by telephone, with most legitimate contact taking place by mail.

   Herndon urges anyone who gets such a call to notify the local federal court clerk.

 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 02:02

Woman critical after ATV hit by train

   A metro-east woman is in critical condition after being struck by a train near Granite City Tuesday night.  Police say it happened about 9 p.m. at Lenox and Chouteau in Mitchell, Illinois.  

   A couple had reportedly been riding an all-terrain vehicle when it got stuck on railroad tracks.  The man was able to jump out of the way of the on-coming train, but the women couldn't.  

   The woman was struck and later airlifted to a hospital.  The man wasn't hurt.

Published in Local News

   WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) - The mayor the village of Washington Park, Illinois says city leaders are talking about disbanding the police department.

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports Thursday that Washington Park Mayor Ann Rodgers says the village's financial situation is bleak. She says a number of options are being considered but nothing has been finalized. The village's police chief, Aubrey Keller, has previously suggested the department be abolished.

   Keller says the department has a staff shortage and is paying overtime costs.

   St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly also agrees that abolishing the department is an option.

   Washington Park has a $7 million deficit and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has called for the state attorney general to investigate the village's finances.

 
Published in Local News

   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The mother of a metro-east teenager killed a car crash is free on bond after being accused of giving her son beer and whiskey before the accident.

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports 39 year old Ginger Zehner-Denton of Mascoutah surrendered this week on a charge filed earlier this month that accuses her of unlawful delivery of alcohol.

   Her 18 year old son, Stephen Zehner, died in a Jan. 26 crash. He was a senior at Belleville West High School.

   A 16 year old passenger in the car he was driving was seriously injured and hospitalized for three months.

   Zehner-Denton's attorney says he's not commenting publicly about the case.

   The felony is punishable by up to three years in prison.

 
Published in Local News

   The former mayor of Caseyville, Illinois wants the ballots from the April election recounted.  That's because George Chance lost his reelection bid by only four votes -- after 27 years in office.  

   Chance was entitled to a discovery examination of 25% of the ballots.  That took place Monday.  Chance says he's already found one vote that was miscounted, so he plans to ask a judge to have all of the ballots tallied again.

   The new mayor, Leonard Black has already taken office, but says he can't blame Chance for wanting a full recount.  

   Mayor Black told Fox 2 News that he'd probably do the same thing if he'd lost by such a narrow margin.  "I probably would," he said. "I don't hold that against Mr. Chance.  I would do the same thing. I mean it's close enough that it's reasonable."

   The final vote count was 576-to-572. 

 
Published in Local News

   O'Fallon, Illinois Police aren't saying what prompted them to ask for help from the St. Louis Major Case Squad Sunday afternoon, only that a person was dead.  

   Police had been called to the victim's home in the 1300 block of Engle Court around 11:00 a.m. Saturday.  O'Fallon police are now calling the victim's death "suspicious."

   Major case investigators refused to comment on Sunday, but O'Fallon police say they expect to release more details on Monday.  

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:31

Illinois Consolidated Election Results

   Votes are still being counted in some metro-east elections.  

   Some of the race results are in:  Edwardsville has chosen a new mayor.  Hal Patton defeated Barb Stamer in that race.  Patton will replace Mayor Gary Niebur, who's led the city since 1992.  Mark Eckert will remain Mayor of Belleville, having beaten Jospeph Hayden and Phillip Elmore.  

   Other contests are still up in the air:  In Alton, Mayor Tom Hoechst could possibly lose his seat to write-in candidate Brant Walker but county Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said final numbers probably won't be available until Wednesday.  

   A property tax increase aimed at preventing the sort of cuts made in other districts has failed in O'Fallon.  Supporters had asked residents to approve a temporary tax to cover the gap until the state of Illinois paid its share of funding. The tax would have generated about $3 million dollars a year, but it was soundly defeated with 65-percent of voters saying no.

   Voter turn out was low, as expected, in most polling places in Tuesday's Consolidated Elections.  The Belleville News-Democrat reports that turnout ranged from 13 percent in East St. Louis, to 21 percent in Belleville.

   More results from Tuesday's Consolidated Elections in Illinois

 

 
Published in Local News
Funding for many metro-east schools is nearing "crisis" status. The situation is getting so bad, that state education officials are pleading with state legislators to increase school funding by more than $800 million.

But the budget proposed by Governor Pat Quinn would cut education spending by more than $300 million.

Many Illinois school districts are already operating on deficits after the state failed to fully fund its obligations for the past two years. Virtually every metro-east district is laying off teachers in anticipation of less state funding next year. Some are cutting sports programs and closing schools.

St. Clair County schools superintendent Susan Sarfaty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "Districts are no longer cutting fat from their budgets — they’re cutting bone." Sarfaty says "there's no more fat to cut."
Published in Local News
The sequester budget cuts will soon be felt in the St. Louis area as more than 4,500 civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base will soon begin furloughs. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the employees will receive 30 day notices by mail this week.

The furloughs mean affected employees will work only four days each week for 22 weeks, and they'll lose the pay for those 22 days off.

Only civilian employees in jobs essential for base safety and security, like firefighters, will be spared.

The paper reports that budget analyst estimate the furloughs will cost the region at least $28 million in reduced spending. About 5,600 civilians work at Scott Air Force Base.
Published in Local News
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