Officials are gearing up for more snow on top of dangerously low temperatures in the Chicago area and north central Illinois. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory from midnight to 4 a.m. today. They say the area could get 2 to 4 inches of snow combined with dropping temperatures and that could make for a treacherous rush hour.
Mendota Teachers Plan to Strike
A strike might be imminent for teachers in the Mendota Grade School. The Mendota grade school teachers approved an intent-to-strike notice yesterday, after another mediated negotiation session regarding their contracts. According to Superintendent Kristen School, teachers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year. At this time the district and teachers are still in negotiations regarding salary and insurance. If no contract is agreed upon, teachers could walk off the job after 14 days.
Gun Range Proposal Back to ZBA
Two Sheridan residents looking to erect a gun range on their property will have to hold off plans for the time being. At this week's La Salle County Board Meeting, board members unanimously voted to send a zone change proposal from John and Heidi Miller back to the county's Zoning Board of Appeals. Gun ranges in the county are only allowed on agricultural-conservation property, however the Miller's property is in an agricultural-only zone. The next Zoning Board of Appeals hearing for the change will be held Wednesday, January 15th.
Court Fees Help Children
A new fee aimed at supporting neglected children is coming to La Salle County. At this week's County Board meeting, board members moved forward with establishing an additional $10 fee to court convictions to help benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that provides advocates to neglected or abused children.
New Supermarket in Oglesby
The City of Oglesby could be getting a new supermarket. Recently Niemann Foods Inc. purchased two parcels of land northwest of Walnut Street and Columbia Avenue in Oglesby. According to City Officials, Niemann Foods wishes to build a 28,000 square foot supermarket and pharmacy on the land. Niemann Foods plans to break ground in the spring and have the supermarket open in 2015.
It has become the waiting game for the employees of the Streator branch of US Foods which was just bought out by Sysco. Streator Mayor Jim Lansford says after talking to branch management, there is no word on what if any changes will be coming either positive or negative. Lansford did say he was informed that the purchase of US Foods by Sysco will not be finalized till September of next year.
Lawmakers have questioned Illinois child welfare officials about a spike in the number of children reported to have died of neglect or abuse in the state. The Department of Children and Family Services says 104 children died of abuse or neglect in Illinois in the fiscal year that ended in June. That was a sharp increase from the 30-year average of 77. Agency officials say the number partly reflects a change in the way neglect cases are counted.
Illinois Paying Off Debt
A major credit-rating house is taking a more positive outlook on Illinois' ability to pay its debts. Standard & Poor's has declared Illinois' fiscal outlook as "developing." That's a bit of an improvement from the previous outlook of "negative." Governor Pat Quinn says ratings agencies are recognizing that last week's vote on pension reform has Illinois moving in the right direction.
Streator Comp and Downtown Plan
The City of Streator unveiled the new Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Redevelopment Plan yesterday. The plan, designed by Vandewalle and Associates, revolves around four main initiatives. Those are enhancing the city’s quality, engaging the youth, promoting long term economic violability, and making Streator a destination. Vandewalle also laid out possible solutions for developing the downtown area including streetscape and improving the look of the buildings, making Main and Bridge Streets two way streets, and establishing a formal organizational structure to manage the downtown.
New Exempt Deputy Chief of Police Position
The City of Streator has begun discussions about adding a new Exempt Deputy Chief Position at the Police Department. The position would report directly to the Chief and would be responsible for the management of all administrative functions and field operations in the Police Department. Police Chief Kurt Pastirik says the position is much needed and would be make the department much more efficient. Pastirik noted that most area police departments have similar positions. The City says the addition of this position would not cost taxpayers any more money.
Illinois is among the states trying to land Boeing's new aircraft manufacturing plant. The Chicago-based company is choosing a location to build its new 400-seat 777X jetliner. The state submitted an offer yesterday that would provide economic incentives if Boeing selects Illinois. Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.
Mississippi River Down
The level of the Mississippi River is down again after a dry fall. The Army Corps of Engineers says contractors will remove about 2,800 cubic yards of rock from the middle Mississippi over the next several months. That's an extension of work that began last winter when levels reached record lows after months of drought.
Chicago Man Convicted for Sex Trafficking
Federal prosecutors say a suburban Chicago man has been convicted in connection with a sex trafficking ring that involved at least four victims including a minor. Authorities say 41-year-old McKenzie Carson of Bolingbrook was found guilty yesteray of four counts of sex trafficking. He has been in federal custody without bond since his January 2012 arrest. Prosecutors say the ring was active in 2009 and 2010.
Sen. Kirk Recovering
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is at home recovering from surgery to remove his gallbladder. The Republican from Highland Park underwent the common procedure Monday morning at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Kirk tweeted yesterday afternoon: "It's good to be home."