The Illinois Department of Employment Security has released numbers for the month of July. And all the way across the board, it's an improvement from June to July, and a huge improvement from July of last year.
In Will County, unemployment fell from six-point-four percent in June to six-point-one percent in July. Will County's rate was seven-point-six percent in July of last year.
In looking at the cities:
Joliet's unemployment rate dropped from eight percent flat to seven-and-a-half percent, and stood at nine percent flat one year ago.
In Lockport, unemployment was actually steady from June to July, coming in at five-and-half-percent for both months. But it's a huge improvement from one year ago, as Lockport checked in at seven-point-three percent in July of 2014.
Bolingbrook's rate fell from six-point-one in June to five-point-seven in July, and came in seven-point-three last July.
For Romeoville, unemployment dropped from six-nine to six-five, and came in at nine-three in July of last year.
Plainfield's rate dropped from five-point-nine to five-point-eight, after checking in at seven percent flat last July.
And in Homer Glen, unemployment fell from five-point-four percent in June to five-point-one percent in July, and stood at six-point-seven in July of last year.
8-28 9 AM
The Lincoln Way School Board has made the decision that when Lincoln Way North High School closes at the end of this school year, the students who are juniors this year and are part of a group of students moving to a different school will move to their new schools with all other students for their senior years. This specificially refers to Mokena students scheduled to move from Lincoln Way East to Lincoln Way Central, and Manhattan students scheduled to move from Lincoln Way Central to Lincoln Way West. These moves are being made due to all of the Lincoln Way North students moving to Lincoln Way East after North closes following this school year.
8-28 5:15 AM
WGN TV remembers the deadly tornado 25 years ago that ripped through Plainfield, Joliet and Crest Hill. WJOL's Scott Slocum is featured prominently as one of a handful of reporters one the scene.
Click here to see the 5 minute video.
With the new school year now underway, the Valley View District has made major changes when it comes to testing and safety.
Up until this school year, fifth through 12th graders in the Valley View District would automatically get the chance to re-take a test, if they received a D or an F on it the first time. But this year there's a change. If a student wants to re-take a test, they have to have completed 70 percent of the classwork prior to the test. Superintendent Dr James Mitchem says the idea here was to get the students to try harder the first time.
In attition, a student who didn't fail but wants to do better on a test also has that option, if they have have completed the required work ahead of time.
Meanwhile, when it comes to safety, much had been done at Valley View schools in recent years. But Mitchem says this year things were taken a step further with additional cameras, web-based monitors, alarms on secondary doors, and outdoor lockdown indicator lights.
Mitchem says there was also the purchase of special shades for the windows for lockdowns, where police will better be able to pinpoint the location of possible trouble.
8-27 12 Noon
A $10 million bond has been set for a Crest Hill man accused of killing his girlfriend. 27-year-old Cesar Garcia is accused of strangling 22-year-old Laura Gonzalez earlier this week. Garcia and Gonzalez were a couple but had broken up due to previous incidents of domestic battery. Garcia also had a court order to stay away from Gonzalez and to not go within 1,000 feet of her home. He will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on September 23rd.
A decision made by the Rialto Square Theatre Board has created a plan to bring the theatre's sign issue to a conclusion. It all began last November when Ed Czerkies had offered a donation for a brand new billboard. That offer was eventually pulled when there was much protest about the style of the marquis, and how it was approved. But Landmark signs had already begun work on the new billboard when the donation was pulled. Now, however, it will not go to waste. That new billboard, with some adjustments, will now be on the back of the Rialto, facing Scott Street, which is known for having more traffic than Chicago Street, as it carries Northbound Route 53 through Downtown Joliet. Rialto General Manager Randy Green says there seems to be little complaining about using the "once talked about new marquis" for this purpose.
As for changes to the front marquis, that project still needs to be put out for bidding, probably around Thanksgiving. But as Green points out, they now what needs to be done. Such as a new LED messaging system, repainting, electrical improvements, and more.
And for the "new sign" on the back of the Rialto facing Scott Street, Green says, there will be some adjustments back there. He says the covering on there now is temporary. Most likely a masonry structure will replace it, with more work to follow.
Green says if all goes well, the new sign in the back could be taken care of by the end of this year. THEN, the redone front billboard just might be ready by the Rialto's 90th birthday, in May of next year.
8-27 10:45 AM
The 25th anniversary of the deadly tornado that ripped through Plainfield, Joliet and Crest Hill is this Friday. A new exhibit at the Joliet Area Historical Museum chronicles the devastation. Pieces of stained glass from St. Mary's were found a mile away. Poignant artifacts are included in the exhibit which is called "Eight Minutes in August." Greg Peerbolt from the museum says varying accounts put the tornado actually on the ground around 3:28 that afternoon.
Peerbolt says the news coverage back then was far different than today. Back then, storm damage that might have been shot and shared on Facebook was shot with a Camcorder.
One artifact displayed is Scott Slocum's reporters notebook. He was sent to see the devastation in Plainfield and took copious notes which are on display. "Eight Minutes in August" is on display at the Joliet Area Historical Museum for a limited time.
ALSO, Plainfield School District 202 reminds you that they're joining up with the Plainfield Historical Society, Village Trustees, St Mary Immaculate Church and the Public Library District to present a special program on Friday the 28th. It will begin at 3 PM, at the tornado memorial on Fort Beggs Street across from Plainfield Central High School. Remember that Fort Beggs will be closed to through traffic from 2:30 to 4 PM, and police will be there to direct high school student and staff traffic when school dismisses at 2:10. Media parking will be available in a specially designated lot behind the District 202 Technology Center of Fort Beggs.
The latest Drew Peterson trial is still scheduled to begin on November 13th, but his legal team continues to try and alter the playing field. Multiple sources are reporting today that Peterson's attorneys want the prison wiretaps that allegedly caught Peterson planning to try to have Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow killed thrown out of the evidence pool. It was Glasgow who prosecuted the trial in Will County that sent Peterson to prison for the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio. His fourth wife Stacy Peterson has been missing since October of 2007.
8-27 6:30 AM
There were numerous major projects being talked about prior to the recession of 2008 that were placed on the back-burner and eventually forgotten. You could point to the lifestyle mall that Joliet had planned for northeast of I-55 and I-80, or the lifestyle and conventional malls that New Lenox had planned for I-355 and Route 6. But there's another one that's often forgotten. Joliet and Plainfield had planned a cooperative effort northwest of I-55 and U S 30, for a new retail development at the site of the old truck stop. NOW, it appears that this cooperative effort could have a new life. When Plainfield mayor Mike Collins was asked about something on the Plainfield Village Board agenda this past Monday, he DID mention a specific store that could be coming: Costco. He says this possibility "came to light" about a year ago, and Costco put discussions about this location on their schedule. Mayor Collins stated that something could be completed by 2017.
However, although Joliet mayor Bob O'Dekirk says Plainfield and Joliet would love to get that old truckstop site re-developed, he's not ready to mention anything specific. Instead, he simply acknowledged that the location has been talked about by the Joliet City Council during Executive Session.
Monday night's Plainfield Village Board meeting agenda included a public hearing for anyone with concerns about the property.
8-25 8:40 PM
JJC and Local officials break ground on Tuesday
After a wait that seemed like decades, because it was, ground has been broken for the new Multipurpose Facility at Joliet Junior College.
It's been talked about since 1969, this new facility over by the JJC baseball and softball fields that will be 80-thousand square feet, with a 40-thousand square foot fieldhouse. For baseball coach and athletic director Wayne King, it's been a long road. He says he's been working at JJC for 29 years, and has waited all that time for this facility.
JJC president Dr Deb Daniels pointed out that this will be more than just more space for athletic program practice and student recreation. For one thing, it will be able to bring Joliet Junior College graduation ceremonies back home to the main campus.
Congressman Bill Foster was there, saying he was glad to be part of the excitment, calling it a "wondering multi-purpose building."
Also present was Joliet mayor Bob O'Dekirk. He called it a "big step forward," with Joliet's expansion on both its main Houbolt Road campus and in Downtown Joliet being "very good for Joliet."
The ceremony was attended by numerous JJC athletes and students.
8-25 9:05 PM
Lewis University has benn named one of the best colleges in the Midwest by The Princeton Review and is included in its Best in the Midwest recommened schools. President of Lewis University Brother James Gaffney says this is just one of the many honor bestowed upon the university. For example, last year, U S News and World Report named Lewis University as the 23rd best private school in the midwest
Gaffney says qualtiy of students and the readiness for success is what helps make Lewis so successful.
8-25 9:15 PM