The Joliet Election Board will rule on Thursday on whether or not to allow a referendum on the November ballot. Concerned Citizens of Joliet filed the petition which would ask the city of Joliet voters if they would like to see the make up of the Joliet City Council change from five council districts and three at large councilmen to eight city council districts. The Board which is made up of Mayor Tom Giarrante, Senior Councilman Mike Turk and City Clerk Christa Desiderio heard arguments from the petitioners and the objector to the petition, Sarah Andrano, who filed paperwork to stop the referendum from getting on the ballot earlier this month.
State Rep. Tom Cross wants to use funds from the Bright Start program to help military families send their kids to college. Cross is running for State Treasurer, and says if he wins he can direct money that would normally go to the state and redirect that to help military families. He says this would be a scholarship program for military families, as part of the Bright Start program, with a committee of military personnel awarding the scholarships.
The company that administers the Bright Start program has an obligation to give back half-a-million dollars to the state to use for marketing or other needs. Cross says if he wins he would implement the Military Family scholarship program right away.
8-27 10:20 AM
One of the many high school football games Friday night, as the new season gets underway, will be Joliet Catholic hosting Providence, on ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium. As Joliet Catholic Coach and Athletic Director Dan Sharp reminded 1340 WJOL's Scott Slocum, Providence fans should park on the visiting side, and they will be "all taken care of." He says if they park on the east side by the armory, tickets will be available on that side as well; with JCA fans on the home west side as usual.
And of course, the game will be heard on 1340 WJOL; with halftime including the ceremony for JCA's first Hall of Champions class: Gordie Gillespie, Jim Stefanic, Allie Quigley, Bill Gullickson, and Tom Thayer.
8-27 10:15 AM
The NCAA announced today that former Joliet Catholic running back Ty Issac has been denied his hardship request, and will therefore have to wait until the 2015 season to play for Michigan. He transferred there from USC earlier this year.
8-27 11:30 AM
One of Governor Quinn's top aides is calling it quits. Deputy Chief of Staff Sean O'Shea has just two more days on the job. He's held the post for three years and is responsible for keeping watch over which senior officials are hired at IDOT. The transportation agency has been under scrutiny in recent months for hiring people based on political connections instead of skill. Quinn's office insists that O'Shea is not leaving because of the ongoing hiring controversy.
8-27 5 AM
Teachers in Edwardsville aren't allowed to talk about what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri. Superintendent of Schools Ed Hightower says it's too soon to talk about the shooting, the protests, and anything else related to the unrest in Ferguson. He says there are still too many unknown facts surrounding the case and everyone has an opinion. Hightower doesn't want teachers to find themselves in the middle of a heated discussion or playing moderator in an intense debate. Edwardsville is about 25-miles outside of Ferguson.
8-27 5:15 AM
The future of Romeoville took a couple of recent turns. Expecially along the "turns" of Taylor Road.
Much of the development along Taylor Road in Romeoville has come from the Pizzuti Companies Developer. And as Mayor John Noak points out, their diversified resume will soon expand even more. So far, it includes Samsung, Fed Ex, and Pactive, with more to come. Noak says their latest project is a 700 thousand square foot spec building, with the purchase of 80 additional adjacent acres to the south of there, which could include a building of up to one-point-three million square feet.
Also now in Romeoville's plans: the proposed Value Place Hotel, along I-55, on the south side of Windham Parkway. Mayor Noak says that hotel could meet many needs, and that certainly would include, the needs of local businesses. As an example, he mentioned the major overhaul done every few years at the Citgo refinery, and the amount of people needed extended stays to get the job done.
And topping it off, the plans for the new Romeoville McDonalds at 645 Independence Drive, northeast of Route 53 and Greenwood Avenue.
8-27 11 AM
It looks like we're a step closer to something that could be a nice "Christmas present" for those in and around the New Lenox area. Mayor Tim Balderman says the new Buffalo Wild Wings is getting close to 'complete and ready to go,' as Baldermann stated to 1340 WJOL after Monday night's Village Board meeting.
The new Buffalo Wild Wings in New Lenox will be in Nelson Plaza, at Nelson and Route 30, right off I-80.
8-26 11:15 AM
September 22, that's the date that Joshua Miner's trial will begin for his role in the Hickory Street Homicides. Miner is one of four individuals accused of murdering 22-year-old Terrence Rankins and 22-year-old Eric Glover at a house on Hickory Street in Joliet in January of 2013. Alissa Massaro pleaded guilty earlier this year to concealing a homicide and robbery and received a sentence of 10 years in prison. A third individual Adam Landermann has yet to stand trial, while the forth individual, Bethany McKee, has been tried with her verdict to be read in court in on August 29th.
The defense started the day off with the rest of the (Alisa) Massaro first police interview video. Nothing striking came from the video, except for confirmation that Massaro and Miner did in fact have sex on top of the bodies. Police were trying to get a confession out of her and finally they point blank asked her if they (Massaro and Miner) did it before or after the bodies were moved out of (her) bedroom and she responded with before. Massaro stated that she was “very embarrassed” to talk about that subject.
Judge Kinney told defendant Bethany McKee that she had the right to testify. McKee said no. The Defense rests.
After lunch, the State began with their (brief) closing arguments. Prosecutor Walsh said even though Josh Miner and Adam Landerman physically performed the acts (of murder), but Bethany McKee is guilty nonetheless because she knew what was going to happen and didn’t stop it. Therefore she was contributing just as much as the others. They also stated that she used the money stolen from Terrance Rankins without hesitation. And that despite the fact that she had multiple opportunities to get herself out of the situation and/or seek help (police) she never did. The only time she contacted someone about what happened, was her father and that was for help disposing the bodies. They quoted her (Bethany’s) father Bill McKee in his phone call with the 911 dispatch. The dispatcher asked if his (Bill Mckee’s) daughter was involved and he said “I asked my daughter if she was involved and she said yes”. In the Prosecutor’s words, “In for a penny, in for a pound. In for a robbery, in for the homicides”.
Then Defense Attorney Chuck Bretz made his final arguments. He recited what he said during his opening statement, which was that the State could have charged McKee with many other things (concealing a homicide, obstruction of justice, robbery, etc) and she probably would have been convicted. But they didn’t. They chose to charge her with homicide and a fair evaluation of the evidence presented doesn’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that she (McKee) is guilty. All statements show that McKee was not present during the actual robbery or murders. They also hinged on the fact that McKee stated throughout her initial police interview that she thought Miner was joking (when he came up with the plan to beat and kill Rankins and Glover). He then of course went back to the fact that (Alisa) Massaro is a liar and lied throughout her entire initial police questioning, attempting to discredit her as a witness (for the State). Bretz said that even though some of her decisions may have been immoral, they’re not criminal activity. He says, the “evidence is simply not there”.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor came back with a final rebuttal. He stated there’s no way that McKee could have thought Miner was joking, especially after she saw him hit Rankins as she was heading downstairs. She called her dad to have him help dispose of the bodies, NOT for help. And she regrets calling him because he called the police. She could have saved those boys’ lives. She could have warned them, she could have called the police, she could have told Phillip Massaro (who she conversed with while the murders were happening), she could have gone to the police station after she left the house (the first time) but instead she went to buy cigarettes and gas with the money they stole from Rankins. The State believes that that makes her just as guilty as the rest.
Judge Kinney will announce his verdict on Friday, August 29th. Time is to be determined.
Scott Slocum had a chance to take a ride over Centerpoint South in Elwood yesterday. You've heard that it's the largest inland port in North America, see for yourself. Go to Scott Slocum's Facebook page to view the video.