The former bishop of the Joliet Diocese will be preaching at the funeral of Cardinal Francis George. Before he died last week, the former Archbishop of Chicago invited Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to give the homily at his funeral mass this Thursday. Sartain served as the leader of Joliet from 2006 to 2010. Services for Cardinal George begin today with visitation at 2:30 p.m. at the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
4-21 5:10 AM
A Chicago police officer is no longer being charged in the shooting death of an unarmed woman over three years ago. A judge threw out the involuntary manslaughter charges against Dante Servin yesterday, saying the prosecution failed to prove the off-duty officer acted recklessly in March of 2012 when he allegedly fired multiple shots at a man he thought was pulling a gun on him. One of the bullets hit 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in the head, leading to her death. The victim's brother Martinez Sutton had to be pulled from the courtroom after shouting in the direction of the officer when the verdict was read.
4-21 5:15 AM
Five candidates will be running in a special election to fill the vacant seat left by embattled Republican Aaron Schock. Monday was the last day to file paperwork to be nominated for the 18th Congressional District. Candidates include Republicans Mike Flynn of Quincy, Donald Reints of Benson, and State Senator Darin LaHood. The Democrats are Rob Mellon of Quincy and Adam Lopez of Springfield. A primary date has been set for July 7th with a September 10th general election. Schock left office at the end of last month following an investigation into how he spent taxpayer and campaign dollars.
4-21 5:05 AM
Another staff member who used to work for former Congressman Aaron Schock is being ordered to testify before a federal grand jury. An announcement made in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday confirmed that Shea Ledford had been served a subpoena. Ledford went along with Schock to London in 2011 during the Royal Ascot races. He is fifth former staff member to be told to testify during a federal investigation of Schock's spending habits with taxpayer and campaign dollars.
4-21 5 AM
The Slammers hope to have a home-run with new food offerings this summer at the ball park. Food and beverage director Tom Fremerak says there will be a different array of brats including an angry chicken sausage brat. There will be an additional brat cooked in a "brat hot tub," which will be served on a Milano pretzel role.
Fried pickles, seasoned fries and bigger thicker onion rings will be on the menu. More desserts, like a warmed chocolate lava cake, an oreo churro and dippin' dots root beer float. The park also included a few healthy items for those on a gluten free diet.
Home opener is May 19th day for the Joliet Slammers at Silver Cross Field. For ticket info call 815-722-BATS.
4-20 10:30 AM
At the Will County Board meeting on Thursday; Safety WON over commerce.
It was a big win for the safety of students and the community of Providence Catholic High School. A trucking company requested a special use permit for a truck terminal in New Lenox on Gouger Road. Normally special use permits are passed without much fanfare, but not Thursday. The board heard from Robin Ellis, assistant to the Village Administrator of New Lenox, who says the Route 6 and Gouger Road intersection is bad enough as it is; but with increased truck traffic it could prove deadly in an emergency, according to comments from Silver Cross Hospital.
The attorney for NR1 trucking company, Tom Austenberger, says the limitation proposed upon them would have made the area safer; such as with the limitation of the number of trucks.
No permanent jobs would have been created, as the trucking company would have closed one facility to open the one in New Lenox.
Providence Catholic attorney Maureen Harton says that since the three campuses of Providence are used throughout the year. Increased truck traffic would cause safety concerns for students and the community.
The board agreed to vote the proposal down 16 to 6, with one abstention; meaning that the trucking company will not get a special use permit.
MEANWHILE, the normally public comment during the Will County Board meetings ranges from zero to three people speaking. But on Thursday, more than half a dozen people spoke on the effects of gambling. The 2009 expansion of gambling has a created a loophole where you don't have to have a liquor license to operate video gaming at gas stations and truck stops. Kathy Gilmore says there is no oversight; such as the 24 hour police presence you see at casinos, and that it can lead to children being left in parking lots,
Len McHenry is building a gas station/conveience store on Harlem Avenue. He says customers seem to like video gaming, as it's quieter than casinos; and he also believes it to be safe, as there are usually other people around.
While the gas station ower or truck stop owner may see profits increase, the question is: at what cost? Melinda Litchfield is a registered Nurse and National Victims Advocte stop predadory gambling out of DC. She is a registered nurse, who has seen the affects of gamling.
Meanwhile, on April 3rd, Governor Bruce Rauner cut all funding for Gambling addictions. Litchfield says you can't offer more gaming options, and then take away treatment. She says gambling is a progressive disease. What may start out as casual gambling can turn into an addiction that shatters families.
The County Board passed the prohibition of additional video gaming in unincorporated Will County.
Congressman Dan Lipinski says we should be cautious about what his fellow Democrat, President Obama, has in mind with a possible trade agreement being negotiated with 12 different nations, mostly in Asia. Simply put, Lipinski says Congress would not have enough 'say' if this 'fast track authority' for the president were approved by Congress. Lipinski says Congress would have one vote, "yes" or "no," and would not be able to amend the legislation.
Lipinski says he finds it interesting that the president once criticized trade deals from the past, such at the North American Free Trade Agreement. But he has supported such agreements since being in office, such as the Korea Free Trade Agreement, which Lipinski believes has backfired.
Lipinski says every time a positive prediction is made about what something like NAFTA will do, all those expected "good things" just don't happen. Lipinski says he sees no logical explaination on 'why to keep doing the same thing.'
4-16 6:45 PM
The Village of Romeoville has passed their 91 million dollar budget, and Mayor John Noak says that not only did it come in at a "one percent decrease" from the previous budget, but it also was done assuming that Governor Bruce Rauner is going to get his 50 percent income tax distribution cut. Noak says they were able to do a "worst case scenario budget" because of economic growth over the last few years, along with "cost control measures" such as with "reductions in workers comp and healthcare costs."
On the other hand, if a compromise is reached in Springfield where the cut in income tax distribution ends up significantly less than 50 percent, Mayor Noak says Romeoville could have a really good year. It would allow the village to start on come capital improvement projects earlier than planned, and thereby reduce the need for property tax revenue down the road.
As far as just what we'll hear from Springfield what the final verdict will be on the income tax distribution cut, the mayor says that's anyone's guess.
4-17 10 AM
A local 5K that was scheduled to take place in Joliet/Crest Hill on Sunday morning was canceled after several volunteers were threatened by a man with a gun. It was at the "Race to Plate 5K" to support the St. Joe's 11U All-Stars that several volunteers from an area high school baseball team, who were stationed on the race route on the corner of Ludwig Ave. and Cora St., said that man in a car drove by at a slow speed multiple times. It was on his third pass that the car stopped in front of the volunteers and confronted them with a gun, asking the teens why they were in the neighborhood. The subjects were described as two Hispanic males in their 20s.
The teens subsequently fled and informed officials what had happened. Police then arrived and canceled the event. The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Sara Gimbel has told 1340 WJOL that the right choice was made to cancel the event, as the 5K was going to include very young kids running at their own pace. But she was quite adamant that this event will be scheduled again in 2016.
Joliet Police say there is a likely but not as yet confirmed connection established between an unidentified male body found in the Des Plaines River on Saturday afternoon, near the boat launch in the 700 block of Railroad Street; and the report from a witness of someone "jumping off the Cass Street Bridge while holding a Bible" back on Friday April 10th.
Joliet Fire Department diving teams had been searching the Des Plaines River periodically last week, while Police had been going through missing person lists for a possible connection. Joliet Police discovered the body on Saturday, and the male subject was pronounced deceased at 4:15 PM. Police have told 1340 WJOL that no definite connection can be established until the body is identified.
4-19 10:10 AM
A 25 year old Bolingbrook mom and her two-year-old son were killed on Saturday afternoon, after an accident at 220 East Frontage Road off I-55 in Bolingbrook. The accident occured while the vehicle Yesenia Quintero was driving was heading southbound. Quintero and her son Isaac were pronounced deceased at 2:05 PM Saturday afternoon.
4-19 10:05 AM
A 35 year old Plainfield man lost his life over the weekend after being struck by a truck early Saturday morning, while walking in the roadway, on Division Street in Crest Hill, about a half-mile west of Route 53. Miguel Lara was pronounced deceased at 12:50 AM Saturday morning.
4-10 10 AM
The new transportation center being worked on in Downtown Joliet has turned into a "work in progress" on more ways than one.
When the plans were first unveiled for the new transportation center that would replace Union Station, one main reason for it was the old way had Metra ticketing and platforms on the second floor, separated from the Amtrak facilities on the first floor. In addition, the public washrooms were just on the first floor. This led to disorganization, and safety problems, such as passengers crossing live rail lines to get where they needed to go.
And as Kendall Jackson from the City of Joliet explained to 1340 WJOL's Scott Slocum, it was soon discovered that if they just built one brand new facility, a lot of the same problems would still exist. Therefore, the better solution was to spread things out.
And as Joliet City Civil Engineer Lisa Dorothy explains, lots of the work being done right now on the east side of the tracks is right along Art Schultz Drive, taking away some of the Joliet Slammers' staff parking places. But Dorothy says, the Slammers exployees at Silver Cross Field have been a big help; in allowing workers to use the "will call" area to warm up. She says the Slammers realize that this facility will be a great partner, once all is completed.
A big part of this project down the road is going to be a 48 hour stoppage of rain service, while tunnels are worked on and bridges are redone. Dorothy says, this will be 48 hours of non stop work, and she'd actually like to be awake for all of it.
It goes without saying this a huge, incredibly expensive project. Lots of parties are involved. There was a 30 million dollar grant from the state, an eight million dollar contribution from nearby CenterPoint. A one-point-seven million dollar RTA grant for PACE service, 10 million dollars for work that will be done for High Speed Rail, and a two-point-eight million dollar payment from BNSF Railroad. The city will soon be kicking in about eight-and-a-half million. Dorothy points out that once this is over, that tower portion of the original Union Station...don't worry historians, it will be there.
Dorothy says that if all goes well, the major ribbon cutting for the opening of everything at this new Downtown Joliet Transportation Center, will happen sometime in 2016.
11-24 5 AM
The plan to re-do the Joliet draw bridges is on paper, but there's a long way and at the very least three years of work to go. During yesterday's public meeting at Joliet City Hall, Bridge Management Specialist Pete Sambor of the United States Coast Guard said that although Joliet's six draw bridges are seen by many as rare, the miles of federal waterways within the 22 states the he deals with, out of the Eighth Coast Guard District in St Louis, actually has about 150 drawbridges. And many of them, such as a couple in Arkansas, already have this modern control system that they'd like to put in Joliet.
There were diagrams there Tuesday of all six Joliet drawbridges, and detour routes that would be used while this work is being done. But it's important to note that they'd be changed over one at a time, with the Coast Guard giving final approval, after a certain time period, as to whether the updates are safely and permanently done. And as we've mentioned, there will be just one bridge tender site, which would be in the Illinois Department of Transportation maintenance building, on Bridge Street near the Jackson Street Bridge. Three different bridge tenders would work shifts, providing 24-7 coverage of this remote system. However, it would be the state paying for renovation. And that, these days, with the shape Illinois is in, can be very tricky. Sara Wilson of IDOT says, this whole thing has been studied for quite a while.
Wilson said it will be tricky for a long range project like this: because IDOT's list of projects and money for them works on a five year cycle, which is still updated every year. So it's a matter of getting the intial commitment to this, and keeping it.
12-16 10 PM
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.