Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 04, 2010

Quinn: Cohen Should Drop His Lt. Governor Campaign

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he expects Scott Lee Cohen ultimately will have to step down as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor over charges that he once abused his girlfriend.

Quinn called Thursday for Cohen to answer all questions about his 2005 arrest for domestic battery -- Cohen denies harming his former girlfriend. But Quinn says he thinks Cohen will end up dropping out of the race.

Illinois voters choose the nominees for governor and lieutenant governor separately. Quinn and Cohen did not campaign together, but now they make up the Democratic ticket.

Quinn says he learned of the allegations after Tuesday's primary election.

Cohen was charged with holding a knife to the woman's throat and pushing her head against a wall. Cohen says the couple did argue but that he never laid a hand on her. Charges were dropped after the girlfriend missed a court date.

The Chicago Tribune reports police records also show the girlfriend had been arrested for prostitution. Cohen says he did not know that at the time.

Cohen is a pawnbroker and owner of a cleaning-supply business with no political experience.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 04, 2010

IL Supreme Court Strikes Down Malpractice Lawsuit Award Caps

Groups representing Illinois hospitals and doctors are disappointed by an Illinois Supreme Court ruling involving caps on some medical malpractice lawsuit awards, but trial lawyers are hailing the decision.

A divided court ruled Thursday that limiting non-economic damages in malpractice cases violates the principle of separation of powers in the state's Constitution. The court says limits the Legislature adopted in 2005 would infringe on the judicial branch's power. In a partial dissent, Justice Lloyd Karmeier says it's the court that is violating separation of powers by second-guessing the Legislature's attempts to reduce health care costs.

Illinois State Medical Society President James Milam says he fears doctors in high-risk specialties will leave the state if their medical liability insurance rates go up as a result of the ruling.

Maryjane Wurth is president of the Illinois Hospital Association. She says the court's decision highlights the need for President Barack Obama and Congress to embrace meaningful medical liability reform as part of health care legislation.

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President Peter Flowers applauds the decision and says it's time to focus on meaningful insurance reform.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 04, 2010

Hynes Concedes Democratic Gov. Nomination to Quinn

Democrat Dan Hynes has conceded in the Illinois primary race for governor, saying he's throwing his support behind Gov. Pat Quinn despite what had often been a contentious battle between them.

Hynes says he called Quinn to congratulate him Thursday morning. Hynes urged people to support Quinn and dismissed their campaign strife as "a spirited discussion about our future.''

Quinn had already declared victory, but Hynes had refused to concede the day after Tuesday's Illinois primary.

Hynes now says all of the votes have been counted and the people have spoken. With all precincts reporting, Quinn held an 8100 vote lead.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 04, 2010

Write-in Candidate Reynolds Set to Challenge Frerichs in 52nd Senate Dis.

A write-in candidate running unopposed in Tuesday's Republican primary appears to have enough votes to challenge Democratic State Senator Mike Frerichs in November.

Al Reynolds of Danville needed a thousand write-in votes to advance to the November ballot in the 52nd Illinois Senate District --- and unofficial tallies show he received 11-hundred-32 ---- 561 votes in Champaign County, 372 votes in Vermilion County and 199 votes in Danville. So, pending formal certification, the 64-year-old retired businessman will run against Mike Frerichs, who was nominated without opposition to run for a second term in the Senate.

Reynolds says the decline of manufacturing in Danville, and the resulting loss of jobs inspired him to run. He says balancing the state budget and lowering taxes is the first step in enticing employers back to Illinois.

"You can't tell people you're going to hire 'em, if there's no place for them to go", says Reynolds. "So we've got to do something to entice business to come, and you can't do that if you're taxing everything. So you're going to have to find some way to cut taxes or give some kind of incentives to businesses (to) start up and hire people."

Reynolds says he believes Republican victories in recent elections are evidence that voters have "had enough of overspending, taxation and corruption in government".

Reynolds organized the East Central Illinois Tea Party in Danville, and says the Tea Party movement was an important supporter in his primary campaign.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 03, 2010

Police: Standoff Over, Shooter Dead at Macomb Store

Police say the suspected gunman at a western Illinois farm supply store is dead and the standoff is over.

Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker says the suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was found Wednesday evening in the housewares section of the Farm King store in Macomb.

Barker says police don't know a motive but the gunman is not believed to be associated with the store.

Barker says no one else was injured. He would not name the suspect.

Witnesses say the standoff began around 1 p.m. Richard Moulton says he was buying a battery charger at the store when someone in an aisle nearby began arguing and shouting. Seconds later he heard about four or five gunshots and he and other customers ran from the store.

Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: crime

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - February 03, 2010

Evaluation Time for Political Candidates

It's evaluation time for candidates in yesterday's Illinois primaries, even as we still don't know for sure who will be the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor. University of Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines stayed up late last night along with many other political observers, only to see two dead-heat races with no clear resolution in sight. AM 580's Tom Rogers interviewed him.

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Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 03, 2010

Results on Champaign County Contested Races in Tuesday’s Primary Election

There was an upset Tuesday in the only contested Republican county board primary race in Champaign County.

Stephanie Holderfield of Mahomet received 1,349 votes, or 52 percent of Republican ballots cast in District One, to defeat the incumbent, fellow Mahomet resident Chris Doenitz in the GOP primary. Doenitz received 1,231 votes.

Holderfield is a Realtor who's running for office for the first time. She says one of her concerns is the rural land use plan that's been in the works in Champaign County for the past three years.

Holderfield says she wants the plan to be flexible enough so that owners of farmland can sell it for development.

"If you own it, you ought to be able to do what you want with it, within reason", says Holderfield. "Imposing so many restrictions on your land goes against all of your property rights, and I am a property rights advocate."

Holderfield will be running against Democrat Eric Thorsland in November.

In County Board District Six, Michael Richards of Champaign will be running for re-election in November. Richards won the Democratic primary in District Six --- beating out Debby Auble and Joshua Hartke.

But Richards, with 434 votes, came in second to a newcomer. Pattsi Petrie received 523 votes, and will join Richards in running for two available county board seats in District Six. Petrie ran unsuccessfully for the county board in 2008, and says her political platform remains "the macro-issue of sustainability", in its economic, environmental and social dimensions.

Petrie says that includes discouraging urban sprawl in Champaign County. She says she opposes the extension of Olympia Drive through the north end of Urbana, because it would take healthy farmland out of commission.

Andrew Timms won the Republican primary for District 6 without opposition. Republicans could name a 2nd candidate later.

In County Board District 6, which covers parts of Urbana and Urbana Township, James Quisenberry and Christopher Alix won the Democratic primary. Quisenberry led the primary with 810 votes, followed by Alix with 644 votes. They'll face Republican Robert Brunner --- and perhaps a 2nd Republican to be named later.

Also in Tuesday's balloting in Champaign County, voters in Mahomet came out in favor of legalized leaf burning in the village.

Voters approved an advisory referendum in favor of lifting the leaf-burning ban, with 740 "yes" votes --- or 62 percent of the total --- compared to 447 "no" votes.

Two other referenda were defeated in Champaign County.

Voters in the Compromise-Kerr-Harwood multi township assessment district in the northeastern Champaign County rejected a tax increase by a two to one margin ---- 273 "no" votes to 145 "yes" votes..

And nearly 61 percent of voters in Sidney turned down a bond issue request to build a sewage treatment plant. The referendum received 165 "yes" votes and 257 "no" votes.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 03, 2010

At 98 Percent, Governor’s Primaries Too Close to Call

Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes were in a near-dead heat for the Democratic nomination. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Quinn had 437,327 votes to Hynes' 432,422.

The Republican contest was similarly close. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, state Sen. Bill Brady had 154,134, or 21 percent, to 152,038, or 20 percent, for Senate colleague Kirk Dillard, and 141,396, or 19 percent, for former GOP state chairman Andy McKenna.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 03, 2010

It’s Giannoulias vs. Kirk in the US Senate Race in November

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias has won the chance to defend President Barack Obama's old Senate seat against Republican Mark Kirk.

Democratic voters nominated the Illinois treasurer in Tuesday's primary. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Giannoulias had 39 percent of the vote.

GOP voters picked the five-term congressman Kirk. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Kirk had 56 percent of the vote.

Republicans have targeted the seat since then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested for trying to sell it. Blagojevich later appointed Roland Burris, who didn't run for a full term.

Illinois is being even more closely watched after an upset win by the GOP in Massachusetts that cost Democrats the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat.

In the state treasurer's race to replace Giannoulias, his deputy Robin Kelly defeated Justin Oberman for the Democratic nomination. She will face 52nd district Republican State Senator Dan Rutherford in November.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - February 02, 2010

Survey Finds Soaring Demand for Food Pantries in East Central IL

Explosive growth" is how the Eastern Illinois Food Bank describes a more than doubling of food recipients over the last four years.

The food pantries in 14 counties supplied by the food bank report more than 100 thousand people received food from them last year. That's 133% higher than the number of recipients in 2005, the last time the "Hunger in America" study was compiled.

Jim Hires directs the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. He says his agency saw an identical increase between 2001 and 2005. Hires believes the economic downturn is partially to blame for the continued increase, but he also thinks his agency and member food pantries are doing a better job of finding those in need.

"Our numbers were going up anyway because of our efforts to reach more people," Hires said. "Even at our best effort we were still only reaching about half of the people who are in need. So we were taking steps. Couple that with the recession and all of a sudden it just ballooned almost out of control and really had us scrambling to meet the need."

Hires says a change in federal commodity policy has led to more surplus food going to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, letting the agency use its money in creative ways to find more food.

Categories: Economics
Tags: economy

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