Drew Peterson's murder for hire trial was scheduled to begin in late August but was delayed on Tuesday, until November to give both the prosecution and defense time to prepare. Peterson, who is currently serving 38 years in prison for murdering his ex-wife, is accused of hiring a hitman to kill the prosecutor in that case, Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow. The trial is now set for a November 13th start date.
A 31 year old man from Des Moines, Iowa has been identified as the victim in Monday afternoon's major crash on Interstate 80, at mile marker 134 near the Briggs exit. It was at 4:11 PM that a vehicle driving westbound crossed over the median into the eastbound lanes, and struck two other vehicles. David Ruiz Venteno was pronounced deceased at 5:30 PM. Both directions of I-80 were significantly backed up for the rest of Monday afternoon's rush hour.
7-6 8:45 PM
The FBI is now handling Monday morning's bank robbery at First Midwest Bank in Joliet. It was at 11:45 a.m. when the robbery took place at 2801 Jefferson Street. Authorities have said that no one was hurt during the robbery, and they believe only one person was involved in the incident. He is described by the FBI an African American male, with a hat and a bag. First Midwest Bank president Jim Roolf told 1340 WJOL that "the important thing is none of our employees or clients were hurt." Roolf says the teller did exactly what they were told to do when a threat is made, and that they "go through security training regularly."
Let's talk Evergreen Terrace. We've all heard of "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?" Now it's "Which comes first, the purchase or the plan?"
When Joliet became the first ever municipality to successfully win the right to condemn a housing project that had been receiving federal assistance, part of the ruling set a deadline for this September. That's when the City of Joliet needs to make their first down payment on the purchase of Evergreen Terrace, if indeed the purchase is going to happen. Back in 2007, the city created the Unity Community Development Corporation. Current president Amy Sanchez addressed the Council during last (mon) night's Pre-Council meeting, along with representatives from the corporation's dozen or so neighborhoods. She told me before the meeting that they're worried. They feel that newly elected mayor Bob O'Dekirk's insistance on getting a plan in place before a purchase committment is made could lead to the city walking away from the whole thing because of being rushed, thereby leaving Evergreen Terrace as is.
Sanchez says she wants the city to commit to that September down payment, and take their time on a re-development plan while the purchase is taking place. Unity C-D-C member Bob Nachtrieb agrees.
But Mayor O'Dekirk and Councilman Larry Hug voiced disagreement with that. They feel there's too much money at stake to not have a definite plan in place before that down payment is made. While Sanchez pointed to a couple of Housing Authority of Joliet projects that did not use any city taxpayer money, Hug says this is a different animal.
Mayor O'Dekirk has asked Holsten Real Estate, who already put forth a couple plans, to present new ideas. And the next Evergreen Terrace special meeting is scheduled for Monday evening July 27th, with a location to be determined.
7-6 8 PM
Way back before the economic slowdown of 2008, Joliet had plans for a modern lifestyle mall with all the trimmings northeast of the I-55 - I-80 interchange. Then, the recession hit, and the whole thing faded away. But now Cullinan Properties wants to purchase this location from O and S Properties, who had planned to construct the mall. And Cullinen wants to close out the purchase on Wednesday. In order to do that a certain "30 day waiting period" has to be lifted by the Joliet City Council. As City Manager Jim Hock explained to 1340 WJOL, O and M originally had the right to void the agreement with a 30 day notice, as long as development bonds had not been issued by the city. Due to the recession, those bonds were indeed never issued.
Councilman Larry Hug says waiving the 30 day period is pretty much "housekeeping" to allow the transaction to take place. Question is, what happens once Cullinan takes over. They've indicated plans for SOME commercial development, and they do have hotels and conference centers on their resume. But access will be an issue for quite some time, meaning this will take a while. Because as Mayor Bob O'Dekirk stated during Monday's Pre-Council Meeting, that full I-55 - Route 59 interchange planned for the lifestyle mall is long gone for now.
But one thing for sure, the warehouse plan that was proposed by Hill Wood, the group connected to Ross Perot, is now officially out, as they will not be purchasing the property.
7-6 7:45 PM
A couple of hotlines have been set up for donations to those that need assistance from the Coal City tornado Monday night. Coal City officials have set up the number 815-518-3047. You can also donate by visiting this website: www.cfgrundycounty.com/donate-online/.
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities of Joliet has also set up a hotline for storm assistance. Please call 815-723-3405, or go to catholiccharitiesjoliet.org
The level of volunteers is reported to be way down. Coal City residents continue to need volunteers and assistance through the month of July. Items needed most at this point are cash donations, along with manpower. Of the 884 homes damaged, 250 have been targeted for tear downs.
6-24 5 AM
State Rep Natalie Manley says Illinois House members are due back in Springfield on Wednesday, as the effort continues to try and get some kind of a new budget passed: be it permanent or temporary. Manley says the proposed "July only" budget; passed by the State Senate at the end of last week; failed in the House.because enough Republicans voted against it to prevent the "super-majority" that's needed after the end of the regular legislative session.
Manley says there's a two-step process that's needed here. First, make sure those "really in need" are provided for; and second, find that permanent solution.
But for now, the new fiscal year scheduled to begin this past Wednesday does not have a spending plan.
7-6 11:45 AM
It looks like Mojoes in Downtown Joliet will reopen tomorrow Tuesday, with the planned name change possibly coming into place later this month. It was back in May that the heat was turned up on the previous Mojoes owner after a variety of violations for overcrowding. Then, the previous owner, Chris Triebes closed up shop.
That was followed by the news early in June that co-owner of Pontiac's "Freaksters Roadhouse" Betsy Kuypers would take over as owner of the facility, and rename it "The Tree," with emphasis on rock, country, and folk music; as well as some local comedy acts. Then, news came that perhaps this change would not happen, due to difficulties between Triebes and Kuypers. But the Joliet Patch IS reporting that under the ownershp of Kuypers Mojoe's will reopen Tuesday; with evening shows by Alien Ant Farm, Eyes Set to Kill, and two other bands, starting at 7 PM. The actual name change to "The Tree" could still happen, after a scheduled hearing on Tuesday, July 21st.
7-6 10:15 AM
The closing of the Jefferson Street Bridge, carrying U S 30 eastbound into Downtown Joliet, has been delayed until this coming Friday, the 10th of July. The City of Joliet had made a request to the State Department of Transportation last week that the closing be delayed until after this Thursday's Nitro Night festival in Downtown Joliet, which proceeds this weekend's NHRA Nationals at the Route 66 Raceway. The closing is still scheduled to last until October.
7-6 6 AM
An Iowa prisoner is back in custody after he was captured in Henry County. State Police were notified yesterday morning that Justin Kestner escaped from the Iowa Department of Corrections facility in Fort Madison. Later that morning, the Henry County Sheriff's Office found a vehicle that was believed to have been stolen by the inmate. Kestner was captured after he was located walking state Route 82, just south of Interstate 80.
7-6 6:15 AM
One day after a robbery at First Midwest Bank in Joliet, a suspected bank robber has been arrested in Zion. Zion is up in Lake County, Illinois near the Wisconsin boarder. The Northwest Indiana Times reported earlier today (tues) that a Chicago man suspected in two Merrillville, Indiana bank robberies was taken into custody. Fifty-five year old Don Ellis Bevly has been charged with both June robberies: One at a First Midwest on Broadway in Merrillville, and the other at a Chase Bank on Broadway in Merrillville. It is not known if Bevly is suspected in the Joliet robbery, but for now he will face extradition proceedings before being turned over to prosecutors in Indiana. Bevly is African American, the the FBI had stated that the Joliet robber had been African American, wearing a hat and carrying a bag.
7-7 11:15 AM