Illinois Public Media News
The Champaign Police Department has released its account of what occurred early Monday morning when 18-year old Calvin Miller was arrested.
The arrest and alleged police beating of the teen sparked a protest from around 100 people at Tuesday's Champaign City Council meeting, including his father, activist Martel Miller. The press release described what occurred before Miller's arrest on counts of Resisting a Police Officer, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude, and a traffic signal violation.
In the release issued Wednesday night, police say an officer saw a van speeding as it left the University Village apartments about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Police say the officer had trouble catching up with the eastbound driver, who ran a red light at Moreland Boulevard and Marketview Drive, and the officer wasn't able to catch up until he reached Neil Street.
Police say the officer turned on his overhead lights, but the driver continued on until jumping from the moving van, which had slowed down just before hitting the front of a home on Arcadia Drive. Police say damage wasn't serious, and that the squad car made no contact with the van.
A foot chase then ensued, in which police say the officer gave out clear and loud commands for the subject to stop. Police say he jumped a fence in the 200 block of Arcadia, and fell to the ground. When ordered to put his arms behind his back, the man resisted. Police say when he reached for the officer's duty belt, the officer struck the subject with his hand to subdue him. When a second officer arrived, he used pepper spray before making the arrest.
Officers say the 18-year old Miller was taken to Carle Hospital for a medical evaluation before being transferred to the Champaign County Satellite Jail. He later posted bond and was released.
Champaign police say to date, there has not been a formal complaint filed regarding Miller's arrest, although Martel Miller said Tuesday he is talking to lawyers about his son's case.
Champaign Police says staff will assess the officers' responses to ensure that all actions were in accordance with departmental policies and procedures.
The final elements of an old atomic reactor on the University of Illinois' Urbana campus should be removed by next spring.
The decommission process is expected to start in the next few days. U of I Head of Nuclear Plasma and Radiological Engineering, James Stubbins, says the facility housed next to the Engineering Science Building was used a lot for research and training from 1960 through 1998.
That year, he says U of I administrators chose not to renew the license for financial reasons. Stubbins says it's a decision the university should regret.
"I think in terms of the campus, it's a real loss in terms of those kinds of capabilities," he said. "The argument was about budget, but (compared to) the actual cost of running the reactor, actually this is is much more expensive than what it would have cost to continue to run the reactor."
Stubbins says the facility was less of a threat over the last several years, particularly after the fuel was removed from the reactor in 2004. He says cleaning what remains won't require workers to be greatly protected.
"What we expect is even the dust levels inside won't be enough for people to have to wear respirators," said Stubbins. "We expect a normal kind of building tearing down working environment. But because we're using saws to go through the concrete, we don't even expect so much dust to be pushed up into the air."
He says any areas with residual radioactivity should be removed first, followed by a concrete block that served as a biological shield, surrounding the reactor's core. Stubbins says any staff near the site at Springfield and Goodwin Avenues shouldn't be impacted.
The final work should be completed in May.
Illinois lawmakers have approved major changes to the state's electricity system over Gov. Pat Quinn's veto.
Both the House and Senate voted to override the governor Wednesday.
They rejected Quinn's argument that the legislation guarantees unfair profits to power companies and seriously weakens the oversight power of state regulators.
The Senate voted 36-19 to override. Moments later, the House did the same on a 74-42 vote.
The legislation lets ComEd and Ameren raise rates to pay for improving electrical systems, including the creation of a high-tech "smart grid.''
Supporters say it will create jobs and help customers conserve energy. Critics call it a sweetheart deal for power companies.
The Illinois Senate is moving toward action on a gambling expansion based on Gov. Pat Quinn's recommendations.
Lawmakers passed a major expansion plan earlier this year, but Quinn says he'll veto it.
He wants a plan that creates five new casinos, including one in Chicago, but does not allow slot machines at race tracks.
A Senate committee debated the proposal today. A vote by the full Senate could come later in the day.
If the measure fails, it would help lawmakers argue that only the larger expansion can draw enough support to pass. That might build a veto-proof majority for expansion.
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
The Illinois Supreme Court has suspended convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's license to practice law.
The court acted Wednesday in response to a request from the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The Commission noted he was found "guilty of crimes that involve moral terpitude and reflect adversely upon his fitness to practice law."
Blagojevich's legal career got off to a rough start. The ex-governor has described his first year at Pepperdine Law School as "almost catastrophic" because he was more interested with history books than law ones. It also took him a couple tries to pass the bar exam.
Blagojevich is currently awaiting sentencing on federal corruption convictions that he tried to personally profit from his appointment of a U.S. senator for the seat vacated by President Barack Obama and other wrongdoing.
The ruling won't have much impact on Blagojevich.
The Chicago Democrat has been a lawyer since 1984, but he hasn't practiced law since joining Congress in 1997. He was governor from 2003 to 2009, when he was impeached and removed from office.
For now, the Illinois Supreme Court's order is a temporary suspension. Suspension could lead to disbarment. Two other former Illinois governors - Otto Kerner and Dan Walker - were both disbarred following criminal convictions.
Blagojevich's lawyers could not be reached for comment, and the former governor's spokesman had no immediate response.
A company that supplies sandwiches to convenience stores, supermarkets and other outlets, is recalling two of its products, because they may be contaminated with Listeria.
St Louis-based Landshire Incorporated is recalling its Nike All-American and Nike Super Poor Boy sandwiches, after two samples from the company's plant in Caseyville tested positive for Listeria. The Illinois Department of Public Health says the sandwiches were made between Aug. 25 and Oct. 6. The Public Health Department says neither they nor Landshire have received any reports of confirmed illnesses due to the sandwiches.
Public Health officials say that Listeria symptoms vary, but can be serious and sometimes fatal in young children, pregnant women, the elderly and other with weakened immune symptoms. The symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, severe headaches and stiffness, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In pregnant women, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages or stillbirths.
If you've bought one of the sandwiches, you can return them to the place of purchase for a refund. They're identified by specific production lot codes affected by the recall range from 11 237 6 through 11 285 6. The codes can be found on the side or back of the individual packaged sandwich.
If you have questions about the sandwiches, you should contact Landshire at 314-925-4009.
The Illinois House has followed the Senate's lead and approved changes to give new life to electricity legislation that Gov. Pat Quinn opposes.
The House voted 91-24 Wednesday on the issue referred to at the state Capitol as "Smart Grid."
The Democratic governor opposes a plan allowing power companies to raise rates for system improvements like the high-tech grid. Critics say it would generate unfair profits and weaken state regulators.
Supporters say the new measure makes changes to address some complaints like the issue of power-company profits. They hope the adjustments will lure enough votes to override Quinn's veto of the original plan.
In East Central Illinois, five of seven representatives voted for the measure: Jason Barickman (R-Champaign), Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), Chad Hays (R-Catlin), Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana), and Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). House members Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) voted against it.
Jurors in Chicago have started deliberating at the last trial related to a nearly decade-long investigation of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The panelists withdrew to a 25th-floor jury room Tuesday afternoon. They'll have to decide if a businessman once known as the King of Clout, William Cellini, conspired to shakedown the producer of "Million Dollar Baby.''
It could take them days to go through evidence presented over three weeks. The 76-year-old Republican from Springfield denies plotting with three others to squeeze the Hollywood executive for a $1.5 million donation to Democrat Blagojevich's campaign.
Prosecutors say Cellini's role was to gently broach the issue of a contribution, with another conspirator responsible for tightening the screws later. Jurors must determine if prosecutors proved Cellini delivered part of the extortion message.
A committee of Indiana lawmakers is recommending their colleagues approve "right-to-work'' legislation when they return in January for their 2012 session.
The Legislature's Interim Study Committee on Employment voted 5-4 along party lines Wednesday to advance the proposal. Senate and House Republicans have already announced plans to introduce bills for consideration during the upcoming session.
The divisive issue sparked a five-week walkout by House Democrats during this year's session. New fines put in place by the Republican-led Legislature make another walkout much less likely.
"Right-to-work'' would prohibit workers from being required to pay union representation fees. Indiana's unions spent much of the summer protesting the measure at the study committee's hearings and packed its final hearing Wednesday.
A late night accident in Douglas County killed both the driver and her passenger.
Illinois State Police say 27-year-old Ashleigh Herschberger of Arthur apparently over corrected when her SUV went off the roadway on US Route 45, south of Arcola, shortly past midnight on Tuesday night. The vehicle then swerved to the left, striking the ditch and then rolling over several times.
Both Herschberger and her passenger, 26-year-old Summer Pollock of Humboldt were ejected from the vehicle and killed. The News-Gazette has identified the two as sisters.
State Police suspect alcohol was a contributing factor to the crash.
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