FLOOD INSURANCE BILLS
Homeowners living in flood-prone neighborhoods can look forward to protection from big increases in their insurance bills. President Barack Obama is set to sign a bipartisan bill reversing much of a 2012 overhaul of the government's much-criticized flood insurance program after angry homeowners facing sharp premium hikes protested.
A measure allowing high school testing companies other than GED Testing Services to operate in the state is advancing in the Illinois Legislature. Lawmakers say a recent GED price increase from $50 to $120 strains low-income test takers and changing the law could drive down costs. The bill passed the House last week and now moves to the Senate.
Living with Corpse
Rhode Island authorities say a 71-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease and dementia had lived with his dead wife's body for at least two days before officials entered the home this week. Police in Johnston say the man's 67-year-old wife died a few days ago and he wasn't aware that she had passed. Authorities say there were no signs of foul play. Authorities say the man called the Fire Department on Wednesday and officials found the woman's body and a dead dog.
A Connecticut man who fatally shot a knife-wielding prowler in a ski mask and then learned it was his 15-year-old son will not face prosecution. State police have said Giuliano went outside with a gun around 1 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2012, when his sister called to say someone was trying to break into her house next door in New Fairfield. Authorities say Giuliano saw a masked person holding a knife come toward him in a threatening manner and shot him. He later was told the person was his son Tyler.
Illinois Tax Payers
More than 2.3 million Illinois taxpayers have already filed their income tax returns, with more than half getting refunds. The Illinois Department of Revenue announced Thursday that $524 million in refunds have been paid to early filers. Most of the early filings are made electronically.
St. Patrick's Day Patrols
State and local authorities will be stepping up patrols this weekend for St. Patrick's Day festivities. Officials at District 17 in La Salle will have extra cars out on the main highways to watch for impaired drivers. Checkpoints will be set up at random points throughout the county over the weekend and into the holiday on Monday. Local officials say extra cars will not be added to the roads but the high traffic areas around bars and clubs will be under extra watch for impaired drivers.
The identity of a body found in a stream in Ogle County has been identified. According to the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department, authorities have positively identified the body as 32 year old Phillip M. Rainwater, of Rochelle. Deputies say there was no sign of foul play, and the body was found Monday in the water in a stream near Rochelle.
Streator Elementary on Financial Watch
The Streator Elementary School District has been designated under a “Financial Watch” by the Illinois State Board of Education. An annual profile released by the ISBE on Wednesday shows that the district scored a 1.95 on a scale of 4. The ISBE classifies scores in five different categories in regards to revenue, cash on hand and money borrowing. The district said they had to borrow $1.6 million dollars to make it through the 2013 fiscal year. Streator Elementary was also in a financial watch in the 2012 fiscal year with a score of 2.20. The Streator High School District scored a 3.45 in 2013, placing them under financial watch after scoring 3.80 in 2012.
Illinois GOP Debate
The four Republican candidates for Illinois governor have squared off in a wide-ranging debate that lacked the fiery exchanges of their previous meetings. State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH'-ur-furd) and businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) discussed how they would govern with a Democrat-controlled Legislature, the role of unions and their feelings about assault weapons.
Office Max Moving Out of Illinois
Office Max has begun the process of moving 1,600 jobs out of Illinois after merging with Florida-based Office Depot. The move comes after the Illinois Legislature declined to give the company millions in tax breaks. Office Depot officials said lawmakers' inaction was part of their decision to relocate.
A suburban Chicago man convicted of raping a woman he met on Craigslist has waived his right to a jury trial for his next sexual assault case. Charles Oliver is accused of raping eight women. His attorney is seeking separate trials for each case. Oliver was convicted last month of raping a Chicago woman he agreed to pay $200 for sex.
Peoria Rape Charges Dropped
A Peoria man who spent nearly 20 years in prison for the alleged 1994 rape of a 16-year-old girl is now a free man. Christopher Coleman walked out of Peoria County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri's courtroom after State's Attorney Jerry Brady dropped all charges against him. Brady said problems with the evidence convinced him it was in the best interest of justice to drop the charges.
The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled two hearings in May on a proposal to declare a central Illinois aquifer an important source of drinking water. The EPA says such a declaration for the Mahomet Aquifer would allow the federal agency to review any project planned for land above the aquifer that receives federal funding. The hearings will take place May 13 in Champaign and May 14 in Morton.