STATE & NATIONAL NEWS

Ag Meat And Poultry Inspectors Discover Unsanitary Conditions
In Illinois Food Plant; Findings Result In Revocation Of The Company’s License


A Greene County food processing plant cited for repeated violations of the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Act has had its license revoked. 
Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, Ill., was ordered to close following a July 16 administrative hearing at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield.
The administrative law judge presiding in the case issued the revocation order after listening to testimony that department meat and poultry inspectors found 136 violations in the facility from March 24 to June 17 of this year and management was either unwilling or unable to correct the problems. 
The violations largely were for unsanitary conditions that endanger public safety.  They included instances where inspectors documented water dripping onto meat rails, rust on meat hooks, peeling paint on walls and ceilings in places where meat was stored or processed and holes in floors, walls and doors.    
The judge's ruling takes effect immediately and orders Parks Locker Service to cease "any and all processing and sale of meat or poultry products."  The plant has the right to appeal the decision. 
The Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection is responsible for administration of the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Act, which regulates the wholesomeness, labeling and advertising of meat and poultry products.  Inspections cover all aspects of intrastate slaughter and processing, from ante mortem inspection to the distribution of products to retailers.  Currently, the bureau inspects 243 establishments statewide.

Burglar Arrest Made Wednesday Morning

On July 16, at approximately 10:35 am, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a residential burglary in progress at a home in the 3500 block of Doneta Av, located just south of the Macon County Fairgrounds.  The homeowner indicated a white male had knocked on the door to the residence.  The homeowner advised once she didn’t answer the door, the male attempted to force entry into the home.  As the male was trying to force his way in, the homeowner called 911.  While the homeowner was speaking with dispatchers, the male subject fled from the residence in a pickup truck that was parked nearby.

  Macon County deputies, along with officers from the Decatur Police Department were sent to the area due to the location being on the border of the city limits of Decatur.  While officers were searching the area for the suspect, an investigator from the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office was able to spot the subject in the 1300 block of N. Route 121.  While waiting for backup, the investigator observed the suspect approach another house and begin knocking on the front door.  After knocking, the suspect walked away from the residence and began walking along Rt. 121.

Upon the arrival of uniformed officers from Decatur P.D. the suspect was stopped and positively identified by the Doneta Ave homeowner as the same subject who tried forcing entry into her residence.  The 26 year old Decatur resident was taken into custody and transported to the Macon County Jail where he was booked on preliminary charges of Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools and Criminal Damage to Property over $300.

  Thanks to the great observation by the homeowner along with the combined efforts of all three departments that responded a burglar was taken off the streets during a time of the year when burglaries are at their highest.

  Since June, both the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and the Decatur Police Department have received numerous reports of residential burglaries in the area of the Macon County Fairgrounds.  It is unknown if this individual is responsible for those burglaries, however, the investigation is still ongoing.


Police Officer Narrowly Avoids Being Struck
Intentionally By Driver Of Vehicle.


According to Lieutenant Jason Walker of the Criminal Investigations Division, on Monday, July 14, at  approximately 2329 hours, two Decatur Police Bike Patrol Officers were in the area of College and Macon St, assisting other officers in looking for a domestic battery suspect.  During the search for this suspect, bike officers observed a suspicious vehicle (Gray BMW 4-door) parked along the Westside of the roadway, 200 block of S. College St. 
At this time, one bike officer approached the driver side of the vehicle, illuminating the interior of the vehicle with a flashlight.  The driver activated the turn signal, indicating the vehicle was going to pull away from the curb.  The bike officer ordered the driver to stop the vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle revved the engine, quickly accelerated from the curb and sharply turned towards the second bike officer.
Lt. Walker stated this officer was traveling northbound on College towards the front of the vehicle, at an approximate distance of 30-40 feet when the vehicle accelerated towards the officer.  Believing the driver was intentionally driving at the officer, the officer abandons his patrol bike to avoid being struck by the vehicle.  Upon abandoning the patrol bike the vehicle strikes the patrol bike as it continues to travel in the direction of the officer.  In fear for his own safety, the officer discharged his duty weapon one time at the vehicle, striking only the vehicle, as it passed within feet of hitting the officer.
The suspect vehicle was located unoccupied in the 600 block of S. Siegel St.  At this time, the driver of the vehicle has not been located.  Detectives continue to investigate the driver’s actions towards the bike officer as an attempted murder.
Lieutenant Walker stated that, fortunately, the officer involved was not injured.

House Approves Extension for Highway Trust Fund

  Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) has released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, to fund surface transportation projects through May 2015, by a vote of 367-55.
“It was absolutely imperative for the House to act today to patch the hole in the Highway Trust Fund, and by supporting this bill, we are able to protect nearly 30,000 jobs and 4,000 construction projects right here in Illinois. Extending the Highway Trust Fund and surface transportation programs through May also enables us to continue working on a long-term highway bill that will create even more jobs and better prepare us to keep up with our 21st century transportation needs.
“The fact remains that the Highway Trust Fund has fallen short every year since 2008, and the CBO estimates this shortfall to be about $167 billion over the next ten years. This is unsustainable. We must look for innovative funding options that shore up the Highway Trust Fund without sacrificing one job for another, and while this won’t be easy, I know it can be done, just as this Congress has been able to come together to pass a five-year Farm Bill and a multi-year WRRDA bill.”


Gas Prices Fall 7.1 Cents Per Gallon In Past Week

Average retail gasoline prices in Illinois have fallen 7.1 
cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.71/g yesterday, according to 
GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,378 gas outlets in Illinois. This compares with the 
national average that has fallen 3.7 cents per gallon in the last week to 
$3.61/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. 

Including the change in gas prices in Illinois during the past week, prices 
yesterday were 18.1 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and 
are 22.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has 
decreased 4.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands  unchanged 
compared to this day one year ago. 

"The last two weeks have seen some large drops in oil prices and gasoline spot 
prices- a very exciting thing to see in the middle of the summer driving 
season," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Motorists 
have some nice relief coming at the pump to look forward to in the next week to 
two as these drops make it to retail outlets. Over the next week, the national 
average will fall back under $3.50/gal- something we haven't seen since April, 
and will also drop under last year's average in the next few days. There is also 
the possibility for further declines if we don't see a hurricane or geopolitical 
tensions ruin things. I'd caution motorists as we expect these large decreases 
to only buy the amount of gasoline they immediately need as prices drop, and to 
shop around as price gaps between stations widen because of the quick decrease 
in wholesale gas price. Some stations will be buying the cheaper gasoline and 
passing on savings faster, leading to a wide array of gas prices.
"
'Portrait Of A Soldier' To Be On Display At
Run For The Fallen-Illinois Event 


CHARLESTON – For the fifth year, people from around the state will gather in Charleston to pay tribute the Illinois military men and women who have given their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This year’s event, again to be held at Charleston High School’s Trojan Hill on Aug. 16, will feature the State of Illinois’ Portrait of a Soldier display with hand-sketched drawings of all Illinois military personnel who have died in the War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001.
The display is the creation of Cameron Schilling, a Mattoon artist, who drew the first portrait in August 2004, after Army SPC Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq. Schilling gave the sketch to SPC Neeley's parents to convey his sympathy for their loss. In October 2005, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling decided to draw a portrait of every Illinois service member who has fallen during the Global War on Terror. The portraits are copies of the originals, which have been given to the fallen soldier’s next of kin, and the exhibit travels throughout the state of Illinois.
Run for the Fallen began in 2008 when a team of runners ran across America from Fort Irwin, Calif., to Arlington National Cemetery -- one mile for every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom at that time. Team members marked each mile with an American flag in remembrance of each service member.
Run for the Fallen-Illinois, in Charleston, asks each participant to walk/run one mile for a fallen soldier from the state of Illinois who was killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. More than 250 Illinois residents have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
People can walk/run for a fallen soldier whom they knew, or a soldier will be assigned. Participants will receive information about their soldier at the event on Saturday, Aug. 16, anytime between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Participants will walk/run a mile at the Charleston High School track located just to the west of Charleston Middle School at 920 Smith Drive. Portrait of a Soldier will be on display in the middle school cafeteria.
To pre-register for this event, go to www.charlestonillinois.org and click on the “Run for the Fallen” link to print off a registration form. Complete the form, sign, date, and mail or deliver to the Charleston Parks and Recreation Department at 520 Jackson Ave., Charleston, IL. 
Registration is accepted the day of the event. However, anyone walking/running for a specific soldier who would like to have a card and photo for that person, should submit the registration form listing the soldiers name by Aug. 9. There is no fee to participate. Water is available to all participants. Any donations received will go toward construction of the Center for Wounded Veterans at the University of Illinois.
For more information, contact Vivian Bales at 217-549-0117, Carolyn Cloyd, 217-234-8022, or Bill Lair at 217-345-9580.


Federal Inmate Housed in Macon County Jail
Charged with Bribery

On July 6th a 39 year old male federal inmate, who is being housed at the Macon County Jail while awaiting sentencing in a recent federal case, was charged with Bribery after he offered an on duty correctional officer financial gain for information on another employee.  
The inmate is alleged to have offered money to the correctional officer in exchange for phone numbers, addresses, and other personal information to a recently hired female employee.
The Correctional Officer immediately reported the bribery attempt to his supervisors.  
Offering to bribe a law enforcement officer is a Class 2 Felony.
The inmate is pending a first appearance in this new case.  
Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider stated, “I continue to be very proud of our employees and their diligence to their official duties.”
After a formal probable cause hearing the Sheriff’s Office will be authorized to release the name of the charged inmate.


Rose Issues Statement On Illinois Supreme Court
Decision On Retiree Insurance


State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) offered the following comments on the July 3 Illinois Supreme Court decision, which upheld insurance benefits for retired public sector employees.
“Six of the seven Illinois Supreme Court Justices upheld what is clearly expressed in the state Constitution: that benefits for retirees cannot be diminished.  And, in dicta from the 7th Justice’s dissent that was narrowed to healthcare issues only, she more than implied that she believes that the protection does extend to pensions. The past four years have essentially been wasted because legislative leaders of both parties and the Governor have ignored the basic document we all took an oath to uphold and defend.
“Sadly, everybody from private sector employees to teacher union members know that we have a big, big problem in Illinois.  Rather than waste time on ‘pie-in-the-sky, fantasyland’ savings that were clearly unconstitutional, it would have been far more productive to work together to craft a plan that saves money for the taxpayers while treating our employees fairly - as I have espoused for the last four years. 
“Indeed, I supported the bi-partisan pension reform plan that would have saved $46 billion for the taxpayers that was previously negotiated by Sen. President Cullerton and passed the Senate.  Because it was negotiated legislation, legal precepts would have viewed the unions as essentially “waiving” the same Constitutional issues that came into play in today’s ruling.  Time for the legislative leaders of both parties to have a serious reality check and stop wasting time chasing illusory savings.  The only way out of our problems is by working together to come up with a solution we can all live with.  To keep chasing a mirage when you have $46 billion on the table is absurd.  It is time for House to act on the Senate’s bill.”





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or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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Young people at the World War II Memorial in front of the Decatur Civic Center.

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