Local Talk

Former President Coming to Naperville

The Secret Service was in Naperville earlier this week ahead of a book signing by a former president. Bush is scheduled to make an appearance to sign copies of his new book "41: A Portrait of My Father."

The event takes place Monday at 2 p.m. at Anderson's Bookshop at 123 West Jefferson St.

Preparations all Set for Friday's Parade in Joliet

The Countdown to Christmas begins in Downtown Joliet this Friday.  The University of St. Francis presents the Light Up the Holidays Festival & Parade.  All day events are beginning at 10am; with a live ice sculpting demonstration, and ending with a Holiday fireworks display.   Plus take your picture with Santa and meet Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff from the popular animated movie Frozen.  Ken Plante, festival committee member, says while there won't be a brunch this year, there will be free treats and discounts for food.

The tree lighting ceremony will be held at Van Buren Plaza at 5:15pm.   Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante, the Joliet city Council and University of St. Francis president Arvid Johnson will welcome the holiday season by lighting the City's Christmas tree.  The parade begins at 5:30.   Johnson says he'll be walking with the second most popular person on the parade route; USF mascot Bernie the St Bernard.

The parade steps off at Chicago and Benton Streets and goes south along Chicago to Jefferson and then turns north to go onto Scott Street.  For more information go to Jolietdowntown.com.


11-25  10 AM

Health Department Ends Ebola Hotline

The state health department is hanging up its Ebola hotline because the need has apparently waned.  After receiving hundreds of calls during its first week of operation in mid-October, the number of calls to the 24/7 hotline has dropped off sharply since then.  There have been no Ebola cases in Illinois, and though a small number of travelers from West African nations are still being monitored, none of them is sick.

AG Lisa Madigan will Appeal Judge's Pension Ruling

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is planning to appeal a judge's decision regarding a pension overhaul passed last year by the Legislature.  Madigan says the State Supreme Court could take up the case by the end of January.  A Springfield judge ruled the overhaul aimed at fixing the state's 100-billion-dollar pension crisis was unconstitutional on Friday.  The state will seek an expedited hearing from the Supreme Court.


11-25  5:15 AM

Busy Airport Week off to Bad Start with Monday Weather

Yesterday's cold and snowy weather is being blamed for the cancellation of over 100 flights at O'Hare Airport. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for a large portion of the Chicagoland area. The Chicago Department of Aviation says around 115-flights were canceled. Planes were also delayed up to 50-minutes.


11-25  5:10 AM

Obama Visits Chicago To Highlight Immigration Orders

President Obama is making a brief stop in Chicago today to generate support for his executive orders curbing the deportation of certain illegal immigrants.  The President will speak and take part in a roundtable at the Copernicus Center to highlight the point that his decision will not only affect undocumented Latino immigrants but also those from places like Ireland, Poland, Ukraine and Asia.  The White House says the President will use Chicago as an example of a city whose strength and vitality owes much to the contributions of immigrants from around the world. 

Commerce Commission OKs Clean Power Line

The Illinois Commerce Commission has given the thumbs up to plans for a high-power transmission line that would carry wind-generated electricity from Iowa to Grundy County.  The 500-mile power line, called the Rock Island Clean Line, will be owned by a private company, Clean Line Energy Partners.  Landowners and ComEd objected, saying the company is not a utility and should not be allowed to operate a power line in Illinois.  The investor-backed company says the line will cut electricity prices in Illinois and will help the state meet its renewable energy goals. 

Video Gaming Stays Healthy in Joliet

Video gaming in Joliet continues to outpace previous months.  In October, Joliet took in over 40-thousand dollars, that's 5-thousand dollars more than in September and 10-thousand dollars more than in August.  There are 227 video gaming machines in Joliet.  The state's share of VGT gaming for the month of October, is just over 201-thousand dollars, while the operators of the video machines made over 241-thousand dollars.

Joliet has the third highest number of video gaming machines in Illinois.  Rockford has 388 and Springfield has 453.


11-24  9:30 AM

Downtown Joliet Transportation Center: Completion Expected in 2016

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

President Talking Immigration in Chicago Today

President Obama will be in Chicago today to discuss his recent executive action on immigration.  The President is scheduled to visit the Copernicus Community Center this afternoon to talk with members of the community.  His executive order announced last week aims to boost border security while shielding up to five-million undocumented immigrants from being deported.


11-25  5 AM

Final Plainfield Park Board Commissioner Added

State Rep. Tom Cross has made his appointment to the Plainfield Park District Board, adding the seventh and final Commissioner. Cross announced the appointment of Ridgley Ann "Mimi" Poling to the Park Board. Poling is an instructor in horticulture and botany at Joliet Junior College who also has written for local publications on the subject of horticulture. Cross as well as State Sen. Jennifer Bertno-Tarrant were each allowed to appoint one new member to the board after the passing of a state law designed to change the makeup of the board after several high profile, controversial, decisions by the former board majority. Sen. Bertno-Tarrant appointed Rob Ayres, who was sworn in earlier this month. Poling and Ayres will have to run for reelection in April of 2015

An Eye Opening Look at the Trucking Industry

Following the fatal crash on I-55, a listener sent WJOL a letter detailing her experience with truckers and trucking companies.  Below is her opinion unedited. 
  I spend a lot of time on the road as our jobs are onsite.  I work with many truckers who are working at the Intermodals. This is what I have learned and I am passing it on as it concerns me. 
       Many of the truck companies own only 1-2 trucks.  The owner will accept a job, at say, $1500. It is local and it is picking up a trailer at an intermodal and delivering it to a location, say, Peoria Caterpillar. The owner of the small firm hires a truck driver as an independent contractor at $800 for the job, leases the truck to the driver at a set fee and makes the driver buy the fuel. However, in order for the driver to collect the $800, he has to make the round trip including delivery of the trailer and pick-up of another trailer  and return the truck with a full load, within 8 hours. If it is beyond the time limit the hired driver gets no money but is still responsible for the payment and bills.
      You know how long it takes to drive to Peoria and back and this seems to be a reasonable amount of time, but if you get caught up in traffic., or it takes a while to load or unload the trailer, suddenly you are running short on time, so you speed, find shortcuts, etc to make sure you get your money.
     Some of these truck owners do not do background checks, you only need to have a current CDL.  Some of the drivers can speak no English and require a translator. They cannot read or write English, but yet they have a current CDL license. They can't read the signs put into place warning them of possible slowdowns or construction or time delays. 
      They are of several nationalities and numerous races of persons. Many have only been here a few short weeks, came here legally, and have this type of job waiting for them.
Thought you might want to know this.

Overview of Centerpoint in Elwood: Watch Video


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.

click here



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