Updated 4/17/14 4:32 PM
Lostant Hog Farm
A proposed hog farm south of Lostant has the attention of village officials and residents. Village President Fred Hartenbower said he did not have an opinion on the farm Tuesday night, but he has several questions to ask to the company looking to build the farm. Hartenbower is concerned that the smell from the new farm might affect business or hotels that look to build in the Lostant area. He is also concerned that refuse spillage may affect the aquifer that provides water to Lostant, Wenona, and Toluca. Resident will have the chance to voice their opinions more tonight at a public meeting at Fieldcrest East Middle School in Wenona at 6 PM.
Illinois officials say the level of soil moisture is high across Illinois. The University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute said Wednesday soil moisture levels were measured on April 14 by the Illinois State Water Survey. The levels averaged 37 percent by volume at 2 inches deep across the state. The highest levels measured were in southern Illinois — an average of 43 percent of moisture by volume. Conditions were wetter at the deeper depths. Data is collected at 19 stations across Illinois.
Streator City Council
Streator City Council members discussed the comprehensive plan at Wednesday night's City Council meeting. City Manager Paul Nicholson said that the council is now moving onto the final stages of the comprehensive plan along with the consideration for the downtown redevelopment plan. This will represent the first update to the comprehensive plan since the 2007 general plan.
Council members also formerly recognized Councilman Bruce Hart, who passed away Monday night. A rose sat in Hart’s place where he typically sat. The council also observed a moment of silence in Hart’s honor before the start of the meeting Mayor Jimmie Lansford said Hart was "very passionate about the city of Streator" and "will continue to move forward with the vision that Hart had for this city." Councilman Ed Brozak said that Hart was "the number 1 champion in Streator."
The wife of a suburban Chicago man whose 2012 drowning was attributed to the actions of an aggressive swan has sued the man's employer and the condominium complex where the swan was kept. The lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court by Amy Hensley claims the swan attack caused or contributed to the drowning of Anthony Hensley of Villa Park. Authorities say the 37-year-old Hensley was in a kayak checking on several mute swans when he may have got too close to a swan or its nest. The lawsuit claims the defendants knew or should have known mute swans have a "dangerous propensity to attack.
College Football Union
The College Athletes Players Association is criticizing Northwestern University's argument for overturning a ruling that would allow the school's football players to unionize. Northwestern is appealing a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that the school's football players are employees under federal law and thus entitled to unionize.
ComEd wants more Money
Commonwealth Edison is seeking more money from its customers to pay for a more modern electric grid in Illinois. The utility wants permission to ask ratepayers for about $3 more per month starting in January. State regulators approved a $340 million ComEd rate increase last December.
Federal agents have rounded up 24 men in Illinois and Missouri for what they call "egregious" immigration violations. They say the Illinois arrests took place last week in Champaign, McLean, Effingham and Jackson counties. Some of the men had felony convictions for crimes including sexual misconduct and restraint.
An addiction expert says Illinois can't afford to cut drug treatment funding when heroin use in the state is increasing. State treatment programs could lose $20 million if a temporary tax increase is allowed to expire at the end of the year.
Senate Race Campaign Reports
Senator Dick Durbin's latest campaign report says he's got more than $6 million in the bank for his re-election bid this year, including about $771,000 he's raised since January. The Democrat from Springfield is being challenged by dairy magnate and state Senator Jim Oberweis. His report hasn't been made public yet.
Illinois Unemployment Drop
Illinois unemployment has hit a five-year low. State officials say the March rate was 8.4 percent -- the lowest mark since January 2009. But Illinois still has one of the highest jobless rates in the country. The national rate last month was 6.7 percent.