STATE & NATIONAL NEWS

Elderly Victims Crime Unit Sentences Offenders To
125 Years In Prison, More Than $48,000 In Restitution Ordered, During 2014  
 

Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott announced today that during 2014 the Elderly Victims Crime Unit (EVCU) secured sentences totaling 125 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for offenders committing crimes against the elderly, and obtained orders of restitution to elderly victims exceeding $48,000.  The unit filed 61 felony cases, and resolved 46 felony cases, during the year.  Only one case resulted in dismissal, due to the cognitive impairment of the alleged victim.  In addition, the unit investigated twenty-one complaints, including ten verified scams and four large-scale financial exploitation cases.
Scott established EVCU in January 2013, shortly after taking office, to combat the upward trend of crimes against Senior Citizens, who are disproportionately targeted for financial crimes.  The Elder Fraud Hotline (217-615-7582), which is personally monitored by Scott and Sheriff Thomas Schneider, was subsequently put in place.  To date Scott and Schneider have answered more than 500 Hotline calls.  The Elder Fraud Hotline and an ongoing public awareness campaign to educate residents on scams have prevented countless Macon County residents from becoming crime victims.  In 2014 EVCU received a four year, $360,000 grant providing for a full-time Investigator from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.  
Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Koll serves as Supervising Attorney for EVCU.  Investigator Jason VanAlstine and Victim Advocate Kim Tarvin are assigned to the unit to assist with prosecution.  “Mary, Jason, and Kim show an unbelievable dedication to our Senior Citizens,” Scott said.  “The passion they have for helping elderly victims and for holding criminals accountable is the reason for the tremendous success of the Elderly Victims Crime Unit.” 


Snow and Freezing Rain to Impact Travel in Illinois

IDOT Crews Prepared to Battle Winter Weather this Weekend

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that a winter storm is expected to produce measurable snowfall and freezing rain in parts of Illinois tonight and Saturday, creating the possibility of hazardous travel conditions.

Motorists should expect slick roadways and be cautious when driving. Travel times are likely to be delayed, so motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, and allow plenty of extra time to travel. For statewide road conditions visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

“Our crews are prepared for this latest round of winter weather and will be working hard to clear the roads,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Motorists can help us by driving only if it is necessary during winter storms and taking it slow on the roads.”

The National Weather Service expects the heaviest snowfall (4-6 inches forecast in some areas) to occur in the central part of the state, with freezing rain and accumulating ice likely in the southern part of the state. Icy conditions can create extremely dangerous driving conditions.

IDOT crews pretreated bridges, overpasses, and ramps all day Friday – these are most susceptible to icing. IDOT will have more than 1,700 trucks and 3,700 employees available statewide to battle the winter storm.

If you have to drive in a winter storm, don't crowd the plow. Give plow crews plenty of room to work – you might see them, but the plow drivers might not see you.

Illinois State Police ask motorists to drive at a safe speed, allow plenty of braking room and increase following distance, make sure your vehicle lights are functioning properly, move over for emergency vehicles that may be stopped to assist stranded motorists, and exit the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.

“Illinois State Police are advising drivers to monitor weather conditions and to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety before heading out on potentially dangerous snow and ice covered roadways,” said ISP Operations Colonel Mike Zerbonia. ‘Drivers should reduce speeds, increase distances between vehicles and avoid sudden lane changes. Unless medical attention is required, drivers involved in crashes should exchange information to keep roads clear and avoid secondary collisions,” he added.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages travelers to have a vehicle emergency kit that includes water, snack foods, flashlight, blanket, extra warm clothing, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper with brush, and booster cables. More winter weather survival tips are available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Winter driving tips to remember:

  • Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
  • Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, an invisible danger during some winter storms.
  • Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full.
  • Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
  • Carry a cell phone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for roadway assistance in case of emergency. (Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois if it is not an emergency situation.)
  • Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.
  • Check road conditions before traveling.
    • Road conditions are updated regularly at www.gettingaroundillinois.com. Click the Winter Road Conditions tab to see the statewide map.
    • Information is available by phone at1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or 1-800-TOLL-FYI for Illinois Tollway travelers.

Department of Military Affairs Accountant Wins
$2.5 million from Illinois Lottery

SPRINGFIELD, IL (02/17/2015)(readMedia)-- David Brown of Springfield, Ill., an advanced accountant with the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and his daughter, Laurie, won $2.5 million after she bought them a $10 instant lottery ticket on Feb 5.

Mike Lang with the Illinois Lottery presented the Browns with an oversized ceremonial check today at Camp Lincoln, where they were surrounded by well-wishers from the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and the Illinois National Guard.

Brown and his daughter will split the Lottery prize, which they won playing the Lottery's '$2,500,000 Jackpot' instant game. Brown and Laurie have consistently played the lottery for the past 10 years, occasionally winning large prizes.

"We have always believed we could win," said Brown. "After we won $10,000 last year we saw winning a larger prize as the next step." In claiming their latest prize, the father/daughter opted for a one-time payment of $1.5 million.

Brown, 80, served as a medical noncommissioned officer in the Tennessee National Guard in 1952 and then transferred to the Navy from 1952 to 1959. He has worked as an advanced accountant for 26 years at Camp Lincoln and has played a vital role in managing vouchers for Soldiers using the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.

Brown said one of the instant games he has enjoyed playing is the Illinois Lottery's "Veterans Cash" game, because he knows the profits are going to veterans in need, something he holds dear in his daily work with service members in the Illinois National Guard.

Brown said that although he doesn't need to work, he plans to continue because he enjoys it. "I will work until I no longer want to work anymore," said Brown. "I really enjoy my job and the people I work with here at Camp Lincoln."

Brown said his daughter plans to continue working as well.

"We both plan to pay off our house, cars and then invest the rest of the money," said Brown. "I'm very happy my daughter will be set for life."

Brown said he plans to travel more often, and go see his favorite National Football League team, the New York Jets, play.



Rep. Sue Scherer

Scherer Works to Improve Safety
for Emergency Responders


In response to the dangerous circumstances that emergency response workers face, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, is sponsoring legislation that would create a task force to improve safety precautions and working conditions for first responders.
“There have been too many instances of police, fire, or medical responders being killed or injured when trying to perform their jobs,” Scherer said. “Illinoisans depend on these first responders to provide critical services, and the state needs to help keep them out of harm’s way.”
Scherer is sponsoring legislation to create the Emergency Respon-der Roadway Safety Task Force to identify and recommend ways to the state could improve safety conditions as first responders perform their jobs. Unfortunately, police officers, fire fighters or other emergency responders have been hit by cars or injured as they responded to emergencies along road ways. House Joint Resolution 1 would call upon the expertise of representatives of each of these fields to work together to propose ways the state can improve road side and emergency safety on this unpaid task force.
“Being a first responder to a roadway incident presents certain hazards, and we should work collaboratively with those on the front lines toward solutions that can save lives,” Scherer said. “Our roads are safer when these first responders are able to effectively do their jobs.”
Scherer represents the 96th District, which includes portions of Christian, Macon and Sangamon counties.


State Rep. Bill Mitchell

Mitchell Launches Petition Drive In
Support Of Clinton Power Station


With the future of the Clinton Power Station in question, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is launching a petition drive in support of the plant’s continued safe operation.
Mitchell was in Clinton Friday to announce his petition drive, which he described as an effort to save good-paying jobs and energy independence.
“The Clinton power plant is a major economic engine for Central Illinois,” Mitchell said. “Families throughout the area depend on it for good-paying jobs and our schools and other units of local government receive significant tax revenues from the plant. Not only are the jobs important, but with Illinois’ nuclear plants producing about half of our state’s power, this is about maintaining our energy independence.”
Illinois’ 11 nuclear units and 6 stations produce 48 percent of the state’s electricity. According to Exelon, the Clinton Power Station produces enough electricity to power 1 million homes. The plant is the largest employer in DeWitt County, providing nearly 700 jobs at an annual payroll of $54 million and generating $13 million in tax payments.
“I’m urging folks to join this petition drive to keep good-paying jobs here in Central Illinois,” Mitchell said. “We will be distributing petitions to our local Chamber of Commerce and community leaders to help get the word out.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Mitchell was named to several critically-important committees that will be dealing with the future of Illinois’ nuclear plants, including Public Utilities, Energy and Environment. Exelon’s Clinton Power Station is located within Mitchell’s district.
The Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution last year in support of the state’s six nuclear power plants, following months of speculation that three of the plants may be closed prematurely. Rep. Mitchell was chief co-sponsor of HR 1146, which urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to adopt rules and policies to ensure the continued operation of nuclear power plants in Illinois. 
Additional copies of the petition may be obtained by calling Rep. Mitchell’s district office at 876-1968.


Manar Issues State of the State Response

 

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement following the State of the State Address:

 

“Now is the time to improve and increase funding for our schools. The State Board of Education supports a $729 million increase; yesterday, sponsors of need-based funding reform – SB 1 – and I called for an additional $500 million and today I was glad to hear the governor promise more money for our schools in the coming fiscal year. This sets Illinois on a course for meaningful school funding reform.”

Mitchell responds to Rauner State of the State Address

 

Springfield... Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday.

 

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) applauded the Governor’s focus on job creation, property tax relief and improving education.

 

“Governor Rauner made it clear that he wants to partner with legislators on an agenda to reform Springfield and get Illinois working again,” Mitchell said. “I appreciated his focus on issues that I have supported for many years, such as increasing education funding, merging the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer, and hiring more prison guards to reduce overtime costs. I will strongly support helping working families here in Illinois.”

 

Representative Mitchell added that the State’s budget crisis will be dealt with in the Governor’s upcoming budget address and ongoing budget negotiations this spring.

 

“Certainly, my focus is on dealing with our fiscal crisis,” Mitchell said. “We have a $6 billion hole in the budget that will require some very difficult decisions to be made. Welfare spending is eating up our budget and I believe we have to pass strong welfare reforms to get that under control. And we have to cut wasteful spending. Get rid of the state planes, merge the Comptroller and Treasurer, and fund our shared priorities first. That’s how we’ll fix this mess.”

 



Residence Inn Hotel To Open In Forsyth

Forsyth, Illinois – January 26, 2015 – The 96-suite Residence Inn by Marriott in Forsyth, Illinois is scheduled to open Monday, February 2, 2015 and will feature the brand’s innovative, new design. Located at 230 Lucile Avenue, the all-suite Residence Inn Decatur Forsyth will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Tharaldson Hospitality Management Company of Decatur, Illinois.
Located at the intersection of Highway 51 and Interstate 72, just a short drive from historic downtown Decatur and within walking distance to numerous restaurants, the Residence Inn Decatur Forsyth offers its guests convenient access to Hickory Point Mall, Scovill Zoo and Millikin University. Rates vary depending on length of stay.
“We are pleased to introduce Residence Inn hotels in the Forsyth area,” said Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager, Residence Inn. “When on the road for an extended period, our guests need space to spread out, maintain their life’s pace and restore their energy to help them maintain a healthy balance and routine while traveling. This new hotel offers them a seamless blend of modern style and functionality that allows them to settle in and thrive.”
Residence Inn properties are designed as all-suite hotels that offer studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites. The contemporary suites are designed to enhance the comfort and lifestyle of travelers on the road today, offering guests flexible spaces and upgraded amenities to help maintain a healthy balance and routine while traveling. With a larger, expansive workspace, complimentary high-speed Internet access, and a multitude of easily accessible outlets, guests are able to work efficiently throughout the suites. Sectional sofas and luxurious bathrooms with extra storage space make it possible for travelers to live and rest comfortably. Contemporary and stylish décor, featuring natural light and refreshing colors, helps improve guests’ productivity and energy. Designed for stays of five nights or more, each suite also has a fully-equipped kitchen with a coffeemaker, microwave oven and residential-sized appliances.
The Residence Inn Decatur Forsyth’s complimentary breakfast has a variety of great options, including specially made featured items. Guests can start their day off right with healthy food choices and, with a convenient to-go offering, can make sure they do not miss the most important meal of the day. 
Extending the feeling of comfortable living on the road, the Residence Inn Decatur Forsyth offers guests inviting and functional public spaces to relax or collaborate. Road warriors and families alike enjoy the hotel’s grocery delivery service, complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour onsite food and beverage market, dry cleaning services, and onsite guest laundry room. The hotel’s weeknight evening gatherings offer a casual, relaxing environment where guests can be as social as they want, while enjoying light fare. The hotel also maintains a business library where guests can fax, copy and print materials, and provides guests with a meeting room, an swimming pool, exercise room and Sport Court®.
With more than 650 all-suite properties in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Central America, Residence Inn by Marriott is the leader in the extended-stay lodging segment. Designed for long stays, the brand offers spacious suites with separate living and sleeping areas. Fully functional kitchens, grocery delivery, 24-hour markets and complimentary breakfast help guests maintain a healthy balance while on the road. Complimentary Wi-Fi allows guests to stay connected to the home and office, while health and fitness options and inviting lobby spaces provide comfortable places to work and relax. 
Residence Inn participates in the company’s award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information or reservations, contact the Residence Inn Decatur Forsyth directly at 217-872-6600, call the Residence Inn toll-free number at 800-331-3131 or visit www.residenceinn.com. For travel tips, the latest on the brand or to connect with other travelers, “like” Residence Inn on Facebook: www.facebook.com/residenceinn and follow Residence Inn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/residenceinn.


Macon County Sheriff’s Office Has Launched 
Facebook, Twitter Pages


The Macon County Sheriff’s Office has launched a Facebook Page as well as a Twitter Page.  
The pages have been launched in an effort for our department to become more connected to the citizens of Macon County through the use of social media.  
Over the past 4 months, our department has been experimenting with the use of social media to inform the media and a small number of citizens about current events that were going on in Macon County as well as promoting charitable events that our department has been involved in.
During those months several of the citizens and a large section of the local media has shown great support and approval of the use of social media.  The largest of those events came with the tornado touch downs in Macon County on Oct. 13th.  
By utilizing Twitter and Facebook the department along with Macon County Emergency Management were able to get current up to date damage reports with pictures as well as one posting of a video of the tornado that started on Hilvety Rd. just northeast of Moweaqua, while it was on the ground.
So far with the Facebook page being published for 24 hours, there have been over 1,400 people who like the page.  Citizens are urged to like the page by searching “Macon County Sheriff’s Office” on Facebook, or by going to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office website at www.sheriff-macon-il.us and clicking on the Facebook icon.  The Twitter page can be located at MaconCo_Sheriff or by clicking on the link through the Facebook page.
Citizens of Macon County are reminded that the pages are not going to be utilized as a way to report crimes or file complaints with the department.  If someone wants to report a crime, provide a tip or to file a complaint with the department they need to call the department at (217) 424-1311 or 911 if it’s an emergency, or Crimestoppers at (217) 423-TIPS (8477).
Each of the pages will be monitored by the department and any posts that are in violation of the posting policy will be deleted from the page that they are posted on.




decaturtribune@aol.com 
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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