Trust act passes the house, budget talks still in session

SPRINGFIELD, IL (Associated Press – Please click the link above to read the full story.  Here is an excerpt.

The Illinois House has approved a plan that prevents what advocates say is harassment of undocumented immigrants.

The so-called TRUST Act was approved 62-49 Monday. It requires a criminal warrant before federal authorities pursue undocumented immigrants.
But Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch softened the legislation with input from local police organizations. The Hillside Democrat says police were concerned with earlier legislation which forbid them from participating with federal authorities unless there was a criminal warrant.
Republicans complained immigration is a federal issue. Proponents argue it’s not a crime to be in the country illegally and many work and pay taxes.
The House has committee hearings scheduled Monday to continue reviewing the $37 billion budget plan the Senate approved. It includes $5.4 billion in revenue raised mostly by a 32 percent increase in the personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.
But Republicans are not on board. GOP members in the Senate say Democrats reneged on a deal to trade a tax increase for structural changes Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded.

Rochman weighs in on the Illinois Star Centre Mall

MARION, IL – (Barb Eidlin, The Southern Illinoisan.  Please click on the link to read the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.

The perfect fiscal storm enveloping the Illinois Star Centre Mall, and its current owners, Illinois Star Centre LLC, has its roots in a decision made back in the 1990s, according to former owner, Barrett Rochman.

When the mall was established, the burden of paying the special assessment tax for the development was placed on only two of the six taxable parcels in the development — the interior portion of the mall and the building where Pirate Pete’s is currently located.

As previously reported, when the Illinois Star Centre, LLC declared bankruptcy in early May, Eggmann issued the following statement on behalf of the embattled LLC: “Illinois Star Centre LLC filed A Chapter reorganization due primarily to financial problems caused by an ongoing dispute with the City of Marion regarding disputed bonds. The mall anticipates that it will be business as usual for all of stores and anticipates no interruption in service or change in the hours.”

Marion Mayor Robert Butler in a phone conversation last week said, “Again, I can’t really comment on what is happening because no one from the LLC or their legal counsel has talked to us. We would be happy to speak with them, but we are not aware of anything other than what we read in the media and we are not in the habit of operating in the dark.”

In previous interviews, Butler has said the city might look into acquiring the facility, but had no idea whether or not the City Council would be interested in undertaking such a proposition.

Benefit held in support of young girl with cancer

BENTON, IL (Sean Conway, WSIL-TV  Please click to read the full story and watch the video.  Here is an excerpt)

Hundreds gathered at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Benton on Sunday for a benefit in support of a young girl recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

10 year old Makanda Williams, of Macedonia, had been experiencing severe headaches on and off for the past year.

“It’s kind of like a mini-brain freeze, just for like 5 to ten minutes,” she said. “Then it goes away.”

Makanda was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive and rare childhood brain cancer. She said she has kept up her spirits while beginning her treatments.


Shooting in Benton yesterday – suspect at large

Local authorities are pursuing Alan Bennett, who left the scene after, a 40 year-old Benton resident obtained a gunshot wound.  The suspect is pictured above.

The shooting took place in the 1200 block of Anna street.

He is described as a white male with a bald head, standing 6’1 and weighing 250 lbs.

Bennett is a relative of the victim, according to police.

Authorities consider Bennett to be armed and dangerous. If you see him, do not approach him, call 911.

Anyone with information as to Bennett’s whereabouts can also call Benton Police at 618-435-8131, or your local law enforcement agency.

Summary of May 27 Severe Weather – Hail over golfball sized and winds upwards of 70 to 80 mph

National Weather Service- Paducah KY

Radar Image as the storm crossed the river into Alexander and Union counties. (National Weather Service – Paducah KY)

NOTE:  Here in Franklin County we were spared for the most part, as we had a cell bearing down on us from the west that produced close to 110 mph winds in Central MO.

The most intense storm in the county was on the east side of the county in the Thompsonville-Akin area around 2:00 p.m.

The cell that prompted the Storm Prediction Center to use the term Hurricane Force Winds dropped to the southeast, going through Southeast Missori,  the Southern Seven counties of Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.

The above link will take you to an interactive page of the National Weather Service.  Here is an overview of the event below from the NWS page.  -sd

Multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms impacted the Middle Mississippi Valley on the 1st day of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Many observations of large hail and damaging winds were reported throughout the region, including wind speeds upwards of 70 to 80 mph and some hailstones measuring golfball sized and slightly higher.

There were multiple bowing segments that impacted the region with damaging winds the main impact from those. Each one seemed to develop further south than the one prior. Multiple individual cells and clusters also developed, especially early on in the event.

The brunt of the storms focused across southeast Missouri into much of southern Illinois and western Kentucky. Multiple rounds of storms over the same locations also resulted in some flooding issues requiring the issuance of a few flash flood warnings as well.

Rainfall totals of 1.5 to 3+ inches were observed from Carter County Missouri east into southern Scott County and into Carlisle and northern Graves Counties in Kentucky. The lowest amounts were up along the I-64 corridor and across the Evansville Tri-State area where only isolated heavier amounts were reported.




Gregg Allman, Soulful Trailblazer of Southern Rock, Dies at 69

Getty images

SAVANNAH, GA (Deborah Wilker, Billboard Magazine – Please click on the link above to read the full story.  Below, is an excerpt.)

Gregg Allman, the soulful singer-songwriter and rock n’ blues pioneer who founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother, Duane, and composed such classics as “Midnight Rider,” “Melissa” and the epic concert jam “Whipping Post,” has died at age 69, Billboard has learned. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 and underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

He “passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia,” according to a statement on Gregg Allman’s official website, noting that the family planned to release a statement soon. “Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”

Gregg’s longtime manager and close friend Michael Lehman said, “I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.”

Legislation To Change Gender On Birth Certificate Passes House

SPRINGFIELD, IL – (Brian Mackey – WCBU Radio, Peoria.  Click on the link above to read the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Native Illinoisans would have an easier time changing the gender on their birth certificates, under legislation approved today in the Illinois House.  Under current law, only people who’ve had gender reassignment surgery can ask to change their birth certificates.

Several Republicans disagreed, saying the legislation would make it too easy to change one’s legal gender.  The measure passed narrowly… on a vote of 63 to 43.   It now goes to the Illinois Senate.

NOTE:  Area State Represenatives, Dave Severin (R -Benton), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) and Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City) all voted against the measure.

IUOE wants passage of additional 15 cent gas tax in Illinois

WSIL image

(Brandon Merano, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story and video.  Here is an excerpt below.)

An Illinois labor union is pushing Senate President John Cullerton to introduce a 15 cent per gallon tax on gas.

That didn’t sit well with Carterville resident Tom Davis.

“You get taxed when you make your money, you get taxed when you spend your money and then you’ve got property taxes,” explained Davis.

Local 150 of the International Union of operating engineers is also pushing for a special tax assessment of electric vehicles because they don’t use any gas when driving on the roadways.



Severin Passes Senate Bill 730 through the House

Springfield…. Today Representative David Severin (R-Benton) unanimously passed Senate Bill 730 through the Illinois House of Representatives, which extends the Petroleum Education and Marketing Act (PEMA). The Act was planned to expire on January 1, 2018 but will now be extended another 10 years to January 1, 2028.

“IPRB has done a great job of promoting the industry within Illinois,” Severin said. “Some of its other work includes the cleanup of abandoned tank battery sites around the state and developing new processes for remediating historic produced water spills. This extension should enable the IPRB to be of even better service to the public.”

The Act is governed by the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board (IPRB) who works closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The board’s purpose is mainly educational, working to inform the general public of the importance of the industry

Senate Bill 730 now heads to the Governor’s office and waits to be signed. Click here for the bill.

Trial date postponed for Mulkeytown man charged with possession of child porn, indecent solicitation of a child and grooming

BENTON, IL (Isaac Smith -The Southern Illinoisan.  Please click on the link to read the full story above.  Here is an excerpt below.)

The jury trial has been delayed for Curtis Carr, the Mulkeytown man accused of possession of child pornography among other child sex crimes.

During a pretrial hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse in Benton, Carr’s attorney, Aaron Hopkins, of West Frankfort, filed for a motion of continuance, waiving Carr’s right to a speedy trial. Carr was originally scheduled to sit before a jury June 6. He will now appear at 1:30 p.m. July 6 for another pretrial hearing.

Carr has been to court on similar charges in the past. In 2004, Carr was charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault in Williamson County. One of these counts was dismissed while the last two went to jury trial where he was found not guilty.

Carr is being held in Jackson County under Union County’s custody on $250,000 bond.