Will County workers are close to finalizing a new four-year contract as they head to work today. Last night, the government’s union workers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the deal that includes a four-and-a-half-percent raise over the next two years. The county board must approve the contract at their meeting in a few weeks. Workers returned to work yesterday when a tentative agreement was reached, ending the 16-day strike over wages and the cost of healthcare benefits.
12-5 5 AM
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford joined 1340 WJOL yesterday to discuss his thoughts on the recent pension reform legislation signed by Governor Quinn on Thursday afternoon. The Treasurer, who is running for the GOP Nomination for Governor, says that the biggest issue with the bill isn't whether or not it's good or bad for the people and the state but whether or not this bill is constitutional.
On another note Fitch and Moody's Credit rating services have both said that this is a positive step for the state of Illinois. Does this mean that the state could see it's credit ratings go back up, not so fast the treasurer said, there's still a few steps on the pathway to an improved credit rating.
First, they have to see how litigation concerning the legislation goes. And second, there's the question of whether or not the temporary income tax hike is made permanent, and what revenue would replace it if it turns out not to be.
Rutherford also told WJOL that there are conversations about debates between the four candidates running for the GOP Nomination but nothing is set in stone at this point.
12-5 8 PM
Officials say only 20-percent of the debris caused by the deadly Washington tornado has been cleared away. At a town forum authorities clarified some of the procedures for removing debris and say they’re considering allowing operations to continue at night. Washington has spent five-point-eight-million dollars so far to recover from the EF-4 tornado that killed two people last month. Officials are beginning to worry that the statewide total will fall short of the threshold needed for federal assistance.
12-5 4:45 AM
A winter storm packing rain, ice, and snow is sparing Chicagoland while it pounds Southern Illinois. Downstate towing companies are being overloaded with reports of vehicles spinning off the roadways. Authorities near St. Louis say that yesterday they dealt with four times as many crashes as they do on a normal day. I-DOT says it expects conditions to worsen today, and the National Weather Service says some areas could get over eight inches of snow before the storm moves on late tonight.
While things have been rather quiet in Lockport since Steve Streit (STRITE) was elected mayor and the City Council's structure was altered; it got LOUD again with this week's new police chief appointment.
WIth Mayor Streit casting the deciding vote, the Lockport Council voted 5-4 to bring in 24 year Illinois State Police veteran Terrence Lemming of Lemont as the new police chief. But lots of people in attendance at Wednesday night's meeting felt that this was a big mistake. Acting police chief Dave Dracksler is a 26 year veteran of the Lockport Police Force. And Councilman Kelly Turner believes that about 100 people were there Wednesday night, stating their support for Dracksler to be the permanent police chief.
Alderman Pete Colarelli says he's not surprised there were so many Dracksler supporters at the meeting Wednesday night. After all, he's well known, with lots of supporters and friends. But Colarelli says that IN HIS EYES, the City Council needs to make tough decisions, and sometimes you can't just do the popular thing to make yourself look good.
Colarelli says from all the folks he's talked to, Assistant Deputy Director and Lieutenent Colonel Terrence Lemming has what it takes.
But another issue that came up Wednesday night was that Lemming would be drawing upon a pension from the Illinois State Police, as well as earning money as Lockport's Police Chief. Alderman Turner and Mayor Streit had some words about that, with the mayor essentially telling Turner that that's a Springfield issue. Turner says, no it's not, it's an EVERYBODY ISSUE; due to what it costs the taxpayers.
And of course, there was pension reform legislation passed this week, with loads of arguments about what it really means.
12-5 11 AM
A recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court is giving Channahon officials hope that their on-going battle with the RTA will have a positive outcome. That "battle" concerned accusations that the RTA was losing out on tax revenue because companies with ties to Chicago were setting up questionable headquarters in towns like Channahon; thereby giving those towns tax revenue that the RTA feels Chicago DESERVES and those other towns DO NOT. Over in Putnam County, in a town called Mark, Hartney Oil has THEIR headquarters. This was one of the cases the RTA's been complaining about. But as Channahon Village Administrator Joe Pena explains, the Supreme Court said there was NOTHING WRONG with what they saw.
Pena says, Channahon can now look forward to getting into court, and hoping to settle their OWN cases in THEIR favor, with the State Supreme Court's recent decision now on record. Pena says that these rules on tax revenues WILL probably have some changes, and the Supreme Court has stated that there SHOULD BE some changes. But the important thing right now is that the current set ups are NOT seen as shams by the state's top court.
12-4 11:30 AM
On the Indiana side of the border, the Illiana Expressway cleared a SMALL hurdle this week. But the BIG hurdle comes NEXT WEEK. As Will County Center for Economic Development leader John Greuling tells us, this week's vote came from the Transportation Committee of the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, which is Indiana's Version of NIP-C. The full NIRP-C vote to get the Illiana Expressway on Indiana's "2040 Plan" will come on Thursday December 12th.
Greuling says that if all goes well with next week's major vote, and if solid response comes from the "requests for qualification and interest" for private investors; he's still hoping for land purchases to start in 2014, and construction to start in 2015.
12-5 12 Noon
Joliet landmark will meet the wrecking ball as soon as today. The Church of the Living God, built in 1881, will be demolished. It was the First Swedish Baptist Church until the 1930's. Ironically, the Southfield Church, which draws its lineage back to the Swedish Church of 1881, is breaking ground on a new building in Channahon. Pastor Dennis Papp says the first Swedish church was built with a limestone foundation, but due to tough economic times, they had to stop building. For several years, a lid was placed upon the foundation, and church gatherings were held in the basement until adequate funding was raised to complete the building.
Pastor Papp tells the Scott Slocum show that he would love to get an artifact from the Church of the Living God as a nod to the past as he builds his church on Route 6 near Dove in Channahon. To hear the entire interview go our website, WJOL.com.
12-5 11:20 AM
Cornerstone Services in Will County is expanding. They're breaking ground on a new group home in Plainfield. The home will house 6 adults with developmental disabilities. Matthew Lanoue, co-coordinator of public relations, says as a country we've made great strides for people's rights to live in a “community-setting” rather than a hospital setting.
This will be Cornerstone's 36th home in Will County, and the second in Plainfield. They'll break ground in the spring and will be ready later in 2014.
12-5 11:10 AM
R Tom Cross No
R Renee Kosel excused absense
D Natalie Manley Yes
D Emily McAsey Yes
D Larry Walsh, Jr Yes
D Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant No
D Toi Hutchinson No
D Pat McGuire Yes
R Christine Rodogno Yes
R Sue Rezin Yes