Local Talk

Crest Hill Man Dies in Motorcycle Crash

The Will County Coroner Line reports that 46 year old Dwayne R Strong of Crest Hill was pronounced deceased at 12:36 PM Friday, in the Presence St Joseph Emergency Room, after a motorcycle he was riding ran into a tree in Crest Hill, at the corner of Essex Court and Borio Drive.


8-30  2 PM

Bethany McKee Found Guilty

Bethany McKee has been found guilty of the offenses of First Degree Murder as well as Felony Murder for the January of 2013 Hickory Street double murders of Terrence Rankins and Eric Glover.  Judge Gerald Kinney read his verdict in the bench trial this morning.  A few key factors played a role in the judge's decision. Although it had been proven that McKee did not physically kill Rankins or Glover, she was present at the scene---and did not disapprove or disassociate herself from the situation or the other parties involved. She also continued close association with the perpetrators after the crime and despite having multiple opportunities, failed to report the incident to the police. Judge Kinney was able to provide a variety of other cases where defendants were found guilty in similar situations based on those standings.

McKee, facing life in prison, will be sentenced on October 16th.  The next trial in the Hickory Street case, Joshua Miner, will begin on September 22nd.


8-29  12:23 PM (Updated)

Sen Bertino-Tarrant Forms Committee for Park Brd Position

A couple weeks ago, Governor Quinn signed the state legislation expanding the Plainfield Park District Board by two people, with State Rep Tom Cross and State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant designated to appoint one new member each.  Bertino-Tarrant has estanlished a search committee, combined of people heavily involved in the issue, and people who are major Plainfield Park District clients.

The committee will take applications for the park board position through Friday September 5th, and then two finalists will be forwarded to Senator Bertino-Tarrant, for a final decision.


8-29  11:40 AM

Morning Star Mission to Once Again Offer "Homelessness Awareness Sleepout"

t's a very important tradition, which always helps us think of 'what others go through.'  Morning Star Mission is having their annual BOX CITY OF HOPE, Friday evening September 19th at the Galowich Family YMCA on Houbolt Road.  As Morning Star Director of Development Blake Campbell reminds us, this is first and foremost a "homelessness awareness event."  Participants are invited to spend the night in a box or a tent, and get a dose of "other peoples' reality."

This is a popular event for families, churches, and youth groups.  But anyone is welcome.  And Campbell says, the evening will START with some fun for the kids, but will soon turn serious, with some "reality speakers" scheduled for 8 PM.

To sign up, or for more information, go to morningstarmission.org.


8-29  10 AM

Joliet Election Commission Rules Against District Issue

The Joliet Election Commission has ruled that Concerned Citizens for Joliet did not turn in the adequate number of signatures on petitions, and therefore the issue of "changing the amount of districts within the Joliet City Council" will not be on this November's election ballot.  Concerned Citizens' goal is to have the amount of districts be increased from five to eight, and then having the three at-large positions dropped.  Indications from Concerned Citizens for Joliet is that they will now turn their eyes towards next spring's municipal elections, and hope to have the issue on the ballot by that time.  The Joliet Election Commission is made up of Mayor Tom Giarrante, Senior Councilman Mike Turk, and City Clerk Christa Desedario.


8-28  1 PM

Joliet Woman Faces Misdemeanor after Confession

The Will County Sheriff's Department has confirmed with 1340 WJOL that a 37 year old Joliet woman has been charged with a misdemeanor of one count of distribution of inappropriate material.  Sheriff's Department Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas told 1340 WJOL that Jacqueline Epting was arrested last week for an alleged incident from April.  He says she had confessed to performing a sex act on a minor, but the minor later denied this, resulting in the misdemeanor charge being filed.  However, Kaupas says additional charges could come later. 

Plyman Retiring as Joliet City Attorney

Local media are reporting that Joliet City Attorney Jeff Plyman has announced plans to retire, and will step down once a replacement is hired.  Plyman has been Joliet's top attorney for about 15 years, going back to when he moved up from assistant city attorney to replace his boss at the time, Tom Thanas.  Thanas, at that time, moved on to work for Naperville, but later returned to Joliet as city manager.


8-30  2:15 PM

New Charges for Truck Driver: Blind in Right Eye

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz 


New charges have been filed against the semi driver involved in the July 21st accident on northbound I-55 that killed five people, including allegations that he was driving while blind in his right eye, as a result of an injury that happened 30 years ago.  Originally, Francisco Espinal-Quiroz was charged with failure to reduce speed and falsifying his log book.  Now, however, the Will County State's Attorney's Office has announced 15 counts of reckless homicide charges.  This is a Class Two Felony, punishable by six to 28 years in prison if convicted.  Killed in the July 21st crash; as stopped traffic was approaching the under construction Des Plaines River Bridge; were Ulrike Blopleh of Channahon, Kimberly and Piper Britton of Urbana, Vicky Palacios of Coal City, and Timothy Osburn from Urbana.


8-28  10:30 AM

Another Lawsuit from July 21st I-55 Tragedy

Another lawsuit has been filed in the I-55 fatal crash on July 21st that led to the deaths of five people.  The husband of one of the victims has filed suit against the driver of the semi involved in the crash, along with his one-man trucking company.  Moses Blopleh of Channahon has filed the suit in Will County Circuit Court, on behalf of his children and wife Ulrike Blopleh.  Forty-eight year old Ulrike lost her life when she and three of her four children, on their way back from a blueberry picking trip, were involved in the crash on northbound I-55, while approaching the Des Plaines River Bridge, which was closed at the time on the northbound side.  Blopleh's sixteen year old daughter was driving at the time.  The lawsuit alleges that the driver, Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, was speeding at the time; and that he should not have been driving because of a significant visual impairment.  Federal investigators were not allowed to see the driver's company's safety records, which caused the company's operating authority to be suspended.  Espinal-Quiroz is still being held on a one milion dollar bond, with charges including false reporting of driving records.  Also killed in the crash for Kimberly and Piper Britton from Urbana, Vicky Palacios of Coal City, and Timothy Osburn from Urbana.


8-28 9 AM

New Channahon Signs; Mayor Hoping for More

Channahon's new program of placing a variety of attractive 'wayfinding signs' around the village is underway, with the ambition of a lot more to come.  

Mayor Joe Cook says, the first phase of these new signs is focused on getting people to the right Channahon Village offices; and sites: such as the Four Rivers Environmental Education Center and McKinley Woods.

Cook says one of his goals is to go beyond the State Department of Transportation's plan for signs like this, and eventually include signs that point the way to local businesses, such as restaurants.

."Cook says when it comes to just how prominent these wayfinding signs can be, there are still some hoops to jump through.  Certain permits are required, especially along U S Route 6.  in addition, the state 'wayfinding sign" program still has the call on the size, how they're made, and how they're installed. 


8-29  12 Noon

Second Hickory Street Trial to Start Next Month

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. 


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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