Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Statement from Lisa Troyer About Anonymous Emails

An investigation by the University of Illinois finds that Lisa Troyer was responsible for sending a series of anoymous e-mails to the Senates Conference. Troyer had resigned as the chief of staff to University President Michael Hogan. Here is her e-mail statement in which she says she "did not write or send the e-mails under question."

Dear Members of the Press,

In recent days, you've written or called to request a statement from me regarding my resignation. I did not respond, as it is against University policy to make public statements while an investigation is underway. Now that the investigation is complete, I offer a statement, which follows my sign off, below.

Sincerely,

Lisa Troyer ======================

I recognize that some may have wondered about my silence since my resignation was announced. I think it's important to recognize that the University's policy is not to comment while an investigation is underway, a policy that I believe is important to honor, which is why I declined to respond to earlier requests for comment.

First, let me thank my many colleagues, friends, and family members for their outpouring of support and kindness in the last few weeks, as well as their recognition that I would not engage in the kinds of acts that have been attributed to me.

I did not write or send the e-mails under question.

I asked the University Executive CIO to investigate this matter within minutes of learning that an anonymous e-mail to the University Senates Conference listserv was being attributed to me and, in fact, I was the one who first instigated the investigation. I followed all directions given to me by the University information technology staff and others involved in the investigation at all times.

While University information technology staff worked on this, I also alerted the University Ethics Officer and initiated an inquiry.

As the investigation continued, I recognized that without and until there is an explanation of the source of this situation, I cannot effectively fulfill my duties as Chief-of-Staff in the Office of the President and, for this reason, offered my resignation on 1/3/2011.

In addition to initiating the investigation myself, I have cooperated fully, answering all questions honestly, providing all information requested, and respecting the integrity and confidentiality of the investigation by withholding comment while it was underway.

I'm grateful for the efforts that many undertook during the investigation, including those of the external consultants that the President had the foresight to engage. While the investigation didn't reveal the source of the e-mails or how they were sent, it also wasn't able to exonerate me. That's disappointing because I recognize that I cannot resume my position as an effective chief-of-staff in the absence of such an outcome.

Again, I had nothing to do with these e-mails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Champaign Attorney Found Dead in City Street

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday afternoon on a Champaign man whose body was found on a west side street.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Nortrup says 50-year old Allen Verchota was discovered in the 2300 block of Briar Hill Drive about 1:30 a.m.

Verchota was attorney with an office in Champaign, but hadn't practiced law recently. Nortrup says he showed no signs of trauma, and Verchota was wearing a couple of jackets and workout pants.

County Sheriff's Lieutenant Ed Ogle says it's possible the man had been drinking, since beer purchased at the nearby Walgreen's was found nearby.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

IN House Speaker Will Allow State Referendum on Right-To-Work

The Indiana House speaker says he'll allow a vote on whether to send a contentious right-to-work bill to a statewide referendum.

Republican Speaker Brian Bosma said Friday he believes legislators should decide the issue but won't use parliamentary tactics to block consideration of Democrats' proposal for a statewide vote in November.

Such referendums have rarely, if ever, been held in Indiana on proposed laws, but House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer says Indiana voters should decide the issue.

The House is expected to debate amendments to the bill on Tuesday, and Bauer had said Democrats might resume their boycott if their bid for a vote on holding referendum was blocked.

The Republican-backed bill would make Indiana the 23rd state to ban union contracts that include mandatory representation fees.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Ill Senator Brady Ends Legislative Scholarships

The former Republican nominee for Illinois governor is giving up the legislative perk of handing out college scholarships.

Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington joins dozens of lawmakers who have ended the decades-old practice. Brady says the state's fiscal situation and the General Assembly's failure to reform the program triggered his decision.

The (Decatur) Herald-Review reported Friday that the decision came just a week after Brady's office sent out notices seeking applicants.

State officials say at least 78 of the Legislature's 177 members have quit the program, which has been criticized for more than a decade because some have used it to reward campaign contributors.

Brady lost the 2010 race for governor to Democrat Pat Quinn.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 12, 2012

Ill GOP Leaders Want to Repeal Tax Hike

(With additional reporting from the Associated Press)

The state's top Republican legislative leaders say Illinois' income tax hike hasn't been a solution to the state's fiscal problems, and they're pushing for an immediate repeal.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last year that raised the personal tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent for four years, which is a 67 percent increase. Corporate taxes also went up.

The goal was to help bring Illinois out of its deepest budget hole in history.

A report by the Illinois Policy Institute claims the increase made Illinois less competitive for business and had other negative impacts.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Tom Cross want an immediate repeal and support legislation filed last year.

Cross said the state needs to look at steeper budgetary cuts, pension reform, and salary freezes for union workers.

"If you're an Illinois taxpayer, you ought to resent this, and you ought to be angry about this," he said. "You ought to say, 'Why didn't you do the things you know needed to be done, and we could have avoided going down this road?'"

Democratic State Representative Naomi Jakobsson of Urbana said the tax hike was the right thing for the state.

"We knew that it wasn't going to magically solve all of the problems overnight," she said. "But at the same time it set the tone for working on the budget the way we did last year, and I anticipate the way we will again this year."

Quinn's office disputes the GOP leaders and think tank's claims. A spokeswoman said the increase brought in $7 billion last year.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 12, 2012

Snow Forces Cancellation of More Than 400 Flights

Airlines have canceled more than 425 flights at Chicago airports as a snow storm sweeps across the region.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says more than 325 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and delays to and from the East Coast averaged 20 minutes. Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of Midway International Airport, totaling more than 100 flights or 25 percent of the airport's flights.

The National Weather Service in northern Illinois predicts 6 to 8 inches of snow in Chicago and Joliet and 4 to 6 inches in Rockford, Dixon, LaSalle and Pontiac. Between 2 and 5 inches of snow are forecast in central Illinois.

Ice and snow covered roads were reported around Freeport, the Quad Cities, Bloomington and Jacksonville.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 12, 2012

US Sen. Durbin Pushes for Capture of International Fugitives

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) wants to know why so many suspects charged with murder and other serious crimes are simply being allowed to live their lives after they flee the country.

The Illinois Democrat is scheduled to meet Thursday with federal, state and local law enforcement officials in hopes of coming up with a plan to capture international fugitives who've committed crimes in the state.

Durbin has urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to do something after a newspaper reported that scores of fugitives remain free even though, in many cases, authorities know exactly where they are.

The Chicago Tribune found a lack of coordination between local, federal and international agencies to capture suspects, some of whom the paper's reporters found living openly in their hometowns in Mexico.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 11, 2012

IN Senator’s Bill Sets Standards for National Anthem Performances

An Indiana legislator is broadening her proposal for a state law on how the national anthem should be performed.

The proposal from Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville would require any performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner'' in any public place be in its entirety and without embellishment. She had earlier proposed a bill for the state education department to set standards for singing and playing of the national anthem at public schools.

Becker told a state Senate committee Wednesday that she believes such a law might not be very enforceable but would send an important signal about the respect the national anthem deserves.

She says the bill isn't aimed at off-key singers. It sets a possible $25 fine. The committee won't vote on the bill until at least next week.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 11, 2012

IN House Panel Backs Smoking Ban

An Indiana House committee has approved a bill for a broad statewide smoking ban that's tougher than a proposal that failed in the Legislature last year.

The House health committee voted 9-3 in favor of the bill Wednesday after adding an exemption for retail tobacco shops. The bill would prohibit smoking in most public places and workplaces, including bars. The proposal would allow smoking only on the gambling floors of casinos, fraternal and veterans clubs and cigar and hookah bars.

Its sponsors expect some legislators will try to add exemptions for bars when the bill is debated in the full House.

A Senate committee chairman says a bar exemption that the House approved last year might be needed for the restrictions to win passage.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 11, 2012

Decatur’s Salvation Army Considers Creating Family Shelter

The Salvation Army is exploring the prospect of creating a family shelter in Decatur.

The facility would be separate from the city's existing Salvation Army building, located at 229 W. Main Street. Major Robert Gauthier, who works at the Decatur office, said planning for the project is still in the very early stages.

"Well, we have to do a feasibility study, and then determine whether or not we can raise the money needed, not only to build a facility but also to operate it," Gauthier explained.

This week, Decatur's Salvation Army dedicated a new room to its existing building that is an extra 11,880 square feet. It will be used as a space for community groups and emergency housing following a catastrophe. Gauthier said in the past, the center's gym was used for emergency assistance, but he said it didn't really provide enough space.

"If for some reason (the Emergency Management Agency) would be affected by the disaster, then of course the Salvation Army would be available to them," Gauthier said. "It would also give us a place to feed people who may be displaced from their homes, as well as house people."

The Salvation Army has provided service in the city for nearly 125 years.

Categories: Community, Economics

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