LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES



Updated - 9/2/14, 8:53 AM

Streator Explosion
One person is reported dead following a house explosion in Streator late Monday night. Streator Police confirmed this morning that a house exploded in the 300-block of Court Street around 10:30 PM Monday. A cause has yet to be determined. Listeners have reported to Studstill Media that they felt their homes shake from over a mile away. One man said he thought someone hit his house, while another said it felt like an earthquake.

Towne Remains Against Weger Parole
The parole hearing continues for the man convicted of murder at Starved Rock in 1960. 75-year old Chester Weger began his 19th parole hearing last Wednesday and has been serving a life sentence for the killing of a Chicago woman in St. Louis Canyon. La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne says he will be going down to the Pickneyville Prison to testify against Weger’s parole. Towne says even though Weger has been in prison over 50 years, his age and prison time does not make him any less of a threat than he was in 1960.
 
Towne said he began the Weger investigation when he was a First Assistant with the State’s Attorney office. Through numerous investigations and speaking with those involved in the trial, Towne said he has been convinced that Weger committed the murder. He mentioned that because of budget and county finances in 1960, Weger was only convicted of one murder and given a natural life sentence. That conviction led the county not to try Weger on the two other murders. Towne estimates that Weger’s parole decision will be made in October or November.
 
Cocaine Arrest
A Chicago man was arrested late Saturday night on possession of cocaine. Illinois State Police officials say 46-year old Donnie Ray McElroy stopped on Interstate 80 westbound near Ottawa at 11:30 PM Saturday. Authorities say McElroy was stopped on a complaint of driving under the influence, failure to dim headlights along with other traffic offenses. McElroy was also arrested on possession with intent to deliver of cocaine and possession of cocaine. McElroy was taken to the La Salle County Jail, held on a $1 million bond.

LeRoy Death
Authorities say a man found dead in rural central Illinois apparently was struck by a motor vehicle while he walked home after visiting family. The McLean County Coroner says an autopsy showed Blaine Umstattd died of head injuries. His body was found early Sunday morning on the side of a road in rural LeRoy.

High-Speed Rail $100 Million Bridge
The state of Illinois will spend $102 million to build a bridge over the Kankakee River as part of high-speed rail upgrades between Chicago and St. Louis. The bridge will be built near Wilmington. The money also will pay for other safety and capacity efforts between Joliet and Dwight and a second set of tracks between Mazonia and Elwood.
 
How Many Will Use Medicinal Marijuana
One unanswered question about a new state law legalizing medical marijuana is just how many Illinoisans will actually ask for permission to use it.    The extent of the demand will start to become clearer starting Tuesday as agencies begin taking applications from patients or their registered caregivers.   Some estimates were that as many as 100,000 Illinoisans could qualify.

"Top Gun" Illinois Death
A central Illinois high school has opened a memorial garden for one of its graduates who was killed in a fighter jet crash during a U.S. Navy training exercise.  Olympia High School planted a new garden in memory of U.S. Marine Corps Major Reid Nannen. The 32-year-old from Hopedale was killed March 1 when his jet crashed near Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada. He was permanently stationed in Japan with the Marines, but was on temporary duty at the U.S. Navy's "TopGun" school.

Child Tossed from Car
Chicago police have arrested a man who they say threw an infant out of a moving vehicle after beating his girlfriend and her son. Police arrested the 46-year-old man early Monday after he ran over the 18-month-old girl. They say he had beaten his 23-year-old girlfriend and her 7-year-old son before throwing the girl out a window of the vehicle.   Both children were hospitalized with bruises.