Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 01, 2011

Illinois Police to Set Up Check Points to Catch Drunk Drivers

Illinois State Police officials are warning drivers cops will be out in full force this holiday weekend.

About 100 roadside safety checks are scheduled across the state in an effort to crack down on drunk driving. Over the past five Labor Days, 25 people have died from drunk drivers in Illinois.

Bob Park, with the state's Department of Transportation, said the number of fatalities from drunk drivers over the holiday weekend have dropped over recent decades.

"The culture has changed," Park said. "When you take a look at the statistics and you look at the death rate, I mean, having the lowest death rate sinec the 1920s, obviously what we're doing is working."

Police warn that most drunk driving incidents happen at night. Drivers caught under the influence could face jail time or have their license suspended.

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 01, 2011

Democrat Hoffman Forms Committee to Explore 13th Dis. Congressional Run

A former state lawmaker from southwest Illinois says he wants to run against incumbent Republican Tim Johnson in the new 13th Congressional District.

Democrat Jay Hoffman of Collinsville said he is forming an exploratory committee to see if a run for congress is feasible. If he runs, Hoffman will face David Gill in the Democratic primary. Hoffman said he likes Gill and appreciates his stand in favor of health care reform. But the Collinsville Democrat said he is better suited to work for job creation and debt reduction in Washington.

"What is happening out in Washington right now, is not putting the people of Champaign-Urbana or central Illinois or southwestern Illinois first," Hoffman said. "It's putting the individual congressional members first. And I think people are just tired of that and want to see a fresh approach, an approach that's going to use our natural resources and create jobs and economic op for all of central Illinois."

Hoffman said Johnson has been serving in a congressional district --- the 15th --- that leans Republican, but he said the new 13th District is more of a tossup between the two parties. Hoffman said a race between him and Johnson would provide a clear choice.

"You want someone in Washington who's going to fight for job creation, and fight for working families, or do you want someone who's owned by the special interests and big business?" Hoffman said. "That's the distinction that'll be made."

The 49-year-old Hoffman served twenty years in the Illinois House. He gave up that seat in 1996 to run for Congress, but lost the race against John Shimkus. In October 1997, Hoffman was appointed to the Illinois House again, and served in the General Assembly before losing a re-election bid last year. He faced criticism for being a close ally of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Hoffman defends his ties to Blagojevich, saying everybody has a friend who has done things wrong. He said that when the time came, he voted to impeach Blagojevich in the Illinois House.

While not yet a formal candidate, Hoffman plans to campaign in the new 13th District on Labor Day. He said he also plans to appear in the Decatur Labor Day parade, and at Labor Day picnics in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 01, 2011

University of Illinois to Ask for 5 Percent More Money

The University of Illinois plans to ask the state for about five percent more money in the coming fiscal year.

The school plans for its budget to top $5 billion.

A university trustees' committee on Wednesday reviewed plans for a budget just over $5 billion for the 2012 fiscal year. The News-Gazette in Champaign reports that would be 5.2 percent more than the 2011 budget. The proposed budget must be cleared by trustees before it's considered by the governor, General Assembly and Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The state is now $313 million behind on money it owes the university from past appropriations. The state government is unable to keep up with money it has promised universities and other institutions because of a multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

Categories: Economics, Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 01, 2011

Possible Deal with Wrigley Bomb Suspect

Federal prosecutors say they have discussed a possible plea deal for a Lebanese immigrant accused of placing a backpack he thought contained a bomb near Chicago's Wrigley Field last year.

Prosecutors didn't elaborate when they told Judge Robert Gettleman at a Thursday status hearing in Chicago that they've been talking to defense lawyers about resolving the case before it gets to trial.

Sami Samir Hassoun has pleaded not guilty, including to attempted use a weapon of mass destruction. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Prosecutors accuse the 23-year-old man of taking a fake bomb given to him by undercover FBI agents, then dropping it in a trash bin near the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Gettleman set a tentative trial date of Feb. 6.

Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: crime

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 01, 2011

Hot Weather Forces Some Early Class Dismissals

NOTE: This story has been updated to include the Danville School District.

With high temperatures back in the forecast, some school districts are dismissing classes early.

Unit Four's three middle schools, plus Champaign Central High School will dismiss class early on Thursday and Friday, September 1st and 2nd.

Jefferson Middle School will dismiss at 12:50 PM Edison Middle School will dismiss at 12:55 PM. Champaign Central High School will dismiss at 1:05 PM. Franklin Middle School will dismiss at 1:10 PM. Transportation schedules will be adjusted to the early dismissal times. Unit Four elementary schools and Centennial High School are air conditioned, and will keep to their regular schedules.

Meanwhile, the Monticello School District is letting class out at its schools one hour early on Thursday and Friday, due to the heat.

And, the Danville School District 118 will also dismiss classes early, Thursday and Friday. Elementary buildings will dismiss at 1:15. Middle school buildings will dismiss at 2:25. Danville High School will dismiss at 1:40. There will be no afternoon pre-school classes on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2.

Categories: Education

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