June 15, 2014

Police: 2 Dead, 1 Injured in Dwight Shooting

Police say that two people are dead and another is injured after a shooting in a home Saturday morning in Dwight, on the Livingston-Grundy County line.  

The Dwight Police Department in a news conference on Saturday said that a man who was shot called authorities who arrived at 4:30 a.m. Police arrived on the scene to find two women dead and the man lying on the floor.  

The Bloomington Pantagraph has reported that no arrests have been made. The man has undergone surgery.  

Police did not identify the three individuals and could not confirm whether all three lived at the house.  

Police Chief Tim Henson says authorities will not "let any stone go unturned'' as they investigate.  

Anyone with information has been asked to call the Dwight police department at 815-584-3132. 


June 11, 2014

Sex Crimes Increasing At US Colleges

A recent federal report shows the number of sex offenses reported at American colleges and universities has gone up over the last decade. This is despite a decrease in overall campus crime.

The report said that 3,330 forcible sex offenses were reported on campuses in 2011. This is a 51 percent increase from the decade earlier.

University of Illinois Campus Police Sergeant Joan Fiesta, said sex crimes are severely underreported. She said it takes effort from all students to combat these offenses.

“For the men it’s hey, you know what, this exist. Are we going to be the guys who stand up against it or are we going to not stand up and let this problem persist? For women, the chance of being sexually assaulted in college are higher than in later in life, I think can create an awareness of, okay, what do I do for planning,” Fiesta said.

This joint report was released by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to campus police, the U of I Urbana campus and surrounding areas had 11 forcible sex offenses reported in 2011 and 12 in 2012. 


June 01, 2014

Suspect In Custody In Danville Police Shooting

A Ridge Farm man is in custody in connection with the weekend shooting of a Danville police officer.

Danville Police had been looking for 23-year-old Michael C. Rouse in connection with the Friday night shooting of a police officer. Public Safety Director Larry Thomason says officers spotted Rouse Saturday evening, and chased him into a home on Cannon Street. Police and Vermilion County Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the house, and Rouse surrendered peaceably about three hours later.

Rouse faces a charge of attempted first degree murder to a peace officer. The News-Gazette reports the shooting occurred Friday night, when an officer approached a man on Kentucky Avenue who turned and fired. The officer fired back, but the man fled on foot.  

Bond for Rouse was set at $5 million.

Thomason says the officer is doing well, after his release from the hospital Saturday. His name has not been released, But Thomason says he is a 16-year veteran of the Danville Police Division.


September 15, 2013

U Of I Student Charged With Stealing Cab

A University of Illinois student is being accused of punching a taxi driver, stealing the cab and then crashing it into another car. 

Thomas Hart of Elmhurst is charged with DUI, aggravated battery and possession of a stolen vehicle. 

Urbana police Sgt. Cory Koker says the taxi driver had taken the 21-year-old and two friends to a bar that was closed. 

Koker tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that a short while later the student punched the driver in the face. 

According to police, when the driver and the student's friends got out of the minivan, Hart jumped in the driver's seat and took off. 

The minivan then collided with another car, whose occupants were briefly hospitalized. 

Champaign County sheriff's Sergeant Jeff Vercler says Hart was not injured.


May 30, 2013

Would-be Chicago Backpack Bomber Gets 23 years

A federal judge has sentenced a Lebanese immigrant to 23 years in prison for placing a backpack he believed contained a bomb along a bustling street near the Chicago Cubs' baseball stadium.

Sami Samir Hassoun was sentenced Thursday, little more than a month after the Boston Marathon bomb attack.
The 25-year-old former baker pleaded guilty last year to dropping the backpack into a trash can outside a bar packed with late-night revelers across the road from Wrigley Field in 2010. FBI undercover agents had given him the bag.

The defense depicted Hassoun as a uniquely gullible youth sucked into the sting during an alcohol-addled stretch of his life by an informant eager to please his FBI handlers.

But prosecutors say he declined repeated opportunities to back out of the plot.


Rita Crundwell
(Robert Ray/AP)
February 14, 2013

Former Dixon Comptroller Gets Nearly 20-Year Prison Sentence

Disgraced former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced today to serve 235 months -- 19 years and 7 months -- in prison on one federal count of wire fraud resulting from her embezzlement of nearly $54 million in public funds from the City of Dixon.

She also was ordered to pay $53.7 million in restitution from her assets and any future inheritance. Sale of her assets by federal marshals has netted about $10 million to date, including homes, horses, a luxury motor home, jewelry and other personal property.

U.S. Marshalls are almost finished selling off all of her assets: in the end, the city of Dixon will recover about 20-percent of what she stole.

Her bond was revoked and she was led away in handcuffs at the end of the hearing before Judge Philip Reinhard in the federal courthouse in Rockford.

She will serve her time in the federal prison nearest Beloit, Wis., where she operated part of her nationally known horse-breeding operation.

Dixon Mayor Jim Burke told the court that his city was not looking for revenge; they wanted justice. He also testified that Dixon was not a corrupt city.

Burke said it was a relief to see her receive close to the maximum sentence.

"But on the other hand it was a very emotional thing to stand there and look at her, knowing her all these years and think what a tragedy this whole thing is  not only for the city but her for also," he said.

Judge Reinhard said he doesn't understand how no one discovered Crundwell's embezzlement earlier, and that it is up to the city to figure out. He told Crundwell her lifestyle was extravagant, and she harmed the city of Dixon and its citizens.

Crundwell sobbed to the judge that she is sorry to the city of Dixon, and to her family and friends.

Now 60, Crundwell will be nearly 80 if she serves the full sentence. Judge Reinhard said she could be out by age 77 with credit for good behavior.


January 22, 2013

Attorney: Ryan to be Released by End of January

Imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan is scheduled to be released to a Chicago halfway house at the end of January.

Ryan attorney Albert Alschuler says Ryan will leave prison Jan. 30 through a work release program, something attorneys have mentioned before. The federal Bureau of Prisons website lists Ryan's official release date as July 4. The 78-year-old Ryan is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence in Terre Haute, Ind., for a 2006 corruption conviction.

Attorneys say it's been difficult because Ryan's wife died while he was incarcerated and he has no money.

Ryan was convicted of steering state contracts and leases to insiders in exchange for vacations and gifts while he was in office. He was accused of stopping an investigation into state employees accepting bribes in exchange for truck driver's licenses.


January 22, 2013

Cellini Set to Report to Prison

A 78-year-old former Illinois powerbroker is due to report to prison to start serving a year-long sentence for corruption.

A judge earlier this month set Tuesday as the reporting date for William Cellini. The Springfield businessman once known as the "King of Clout'' was initially supposed to report on Jan. 4 but was granted an extension.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke says Cellini hasn't yet reported. He's required to report by 2 p.m.

Burke says he can't identify Cellini's prison until he reports. Cellini had requested a Montgomery, Ala., prison.

Jurors convicted Cellini in 2011 of trying to shake down the producer of "Million Dollar Baby'' for a $1.5 million political contribution to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign.

In November, Cellini withdrew his request to remain free pending appeal.


The scene outside the Stevens Institute of Business And Arts where a shooting has been reported.
(Rachel Lippmann/IPR)
January 15, 2013

Gunman Shoots Man, Himself at St. Louis School

Police say a gunman walked into a business school in downtown St. Louis and shot an administrator in the chest before shooting himself.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said the shooting happened about 2 p.m. Tuesday. The administrator was a man in his 40s who was shot in his office.

Dotson says both the administrator and the gunman are in surgery.

He says he doesn’t know if their wounds are life-threatening. Dotson says no one else was injured.

The shooting happened at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, which has about 180 students in programs including business administration and interior design.

Dotson says officers found students hiding under desks and in closets.


January 14, 2013

RTA Alleges United, American Airlines Using 'Sham' Office

The Regional Transportation Authority alleges two major airlines are running "sham" business operations to get out of paying higher taxes on jet fuel.

According to RTA, United Airlines and American Airlines are claiming they purchase their jet fuel from offices in Sycamore, Ill. RTA believes they are actually doing business out of their Chicago headquarters.

RTA contends the practice has deprived Chicago and Cook County taxpayers of nearly $300 million over the last seven years.

The RTA filed a suit against United, while deferring formal action against American Airlines, since the company is currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

RTA Chief of Staff Jordan Matyas said the Sycamore office is sparse with empty tables and no computers. Still, his organization estimates a million gallons of jet fuel are purchased each day.

“We need to stop this," Matyas said. "The RTA has a fiduciary duty to bring in as much money for the mass transit in Chicago, and we can’t allow any company to dodge the proper sales tax. So I would say to the city of Sycamore...it is time that it stopped.”

The RTA filed the suit against Chicago-based United, while deferring formal action against American Airlines, since the company is currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

This isn't the first time the RTA has sued over sales tax avoidance. In 2011, RTA filed similar lawsuits against far south suburban Kankakee and Channahon, which the company alleges has similar deals with retailers and other airlines.

RTA has differed formal action against American Airlines, as the company is currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings. The airline wouldn't comment, only releasing this statement: "American does not comment on pending litigation but what it is doing in Illinois is permitted under Illinois law."

In a statement, United officials deny any wrongdoing.

"We are still reviewing the complaint, but we believe that any such suit is without merit. In fact, the operation of our fuel subsidiary in Sycamore has been examined by tax authorities in the past and has been determined to comply with all applicable laws," according to the statement released by United. "We will vigorously defend ourselves against these claims."

Meanwhile, the city of Sycamore said the city will defend its position. In a news release issued Monday afternoon, the city said the agreement with United Aviation has been reviewed by tax authorities in the past and determined to comply with state law.


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