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Jury rules: Clayton guilty of killing 83-year-old Hopkins Park woman

A Kankakee County jury (Monday) returned a guilty verdict against Monroe Clayton for the 2015 stabbing death of 83-year-old Zennia Young.

Clayton is facing a possible prison sentence of between 20 and 60 years. Prosecutors say additional time is possible due to the victim’s age and the brutality of the crime.

The jury deliberated for 3 1/2 hours. A sentencing date will be scheduled.

Young was killed in her Hopkins Park home on Nov. 28, 2015.
Prosecutors used DNA evidence to implicate Clayton in the crime. His DNA was found under the fingernails of the 83-year-old victim. Early police reports stated Clayton had gone to the Pembroke home to try to borrow money from a person who also lived there.

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  • Parent Category: News

Kankakee bank robbery, suspect arrested

Police on Monday afternoon arrested Charles Clevenger on suspicion of robbing the Centrue Bank in downtown Kankakee.
Police said the 27-year-old Clevenger entered the South Schuyler Avenue bank around 11:30 a.m., demanding money. He never displayed a weapon or said he had one.

The suspect then fled west on foot. Police arrested the suspect after a brief foot pursuit in the 100 block of East Court Street.

Police recovered all the money from the suspect.
Another man, who was with Clevenger at the time of the arrest, was questioned but was released after police said he was not an accomplice.

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  • Parent Category: News

Rep. Bennett talks legislative issues at Town Hall meetings

The lack of a budget and several other legisltive matters were discussed at Towns Hall meetings in Iroquois and Livingston counties. State Rep. Tom Bennett hosted the events this past week in Watseka and Pontiac.

Matching the diversity of topics was the diversity of public opinion on issues such as marijuana legalization, protections for persons with disabilities, a potential income tax increase and the hiking of the minimum wage.

Constituents expressed enthusiasm toward the decriminalization and eventual regulation of recreational marijuana, arguing that a legal purchase of it would create new tax revenue for the state’s ailing coffers. Others, however, felt its legalization should be restricted to medicinal usage only.

Another issue that those in attendance largely agreed on was their opposition to a proposed increase to the minimum wage, up to $15 per hour. Among the common refrains was how this would negatively impact businesses as well as the existing budget hole.

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  • Parent Category: News

Cement truck rollover Rt. 49, driver injured

Illinois State Police report the driver of a cement truck that crashed this (Monday) morning in Vermilion County was airlifted to the hospital. His injuries were not life threatening.

Police said the crash occurred at around 11:30 am on Illinois Route 49 northbound just south of Vermilion County Road 1900 North. The truck’s left front tire blew, causing the truck to skid off the road and roll over twice. The 54 year-old male driver was wearing a seatbelt but had to be rescued from the vehicle. There was no immediate word on his condition.

Motorists were urged to use an alternate route while the clean-up continued.

Vermilion County Sheriff’s Police, Fithian-Muncie-Collison Fire, Ogden-Royal Fire, and Oakwood Ambulance personnel assisted District 10 state police.

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  • Parent Category: News

EIU tries to reverse enrollment decline

CHARLESTON (AP) — Eastern Illinois University has boosted its marketing campaigns, social media outreach and events for admitted students in an attempt to reverse a recent trend of declining enrollment.

The university's figures show that total enrollment has declined from more than 8,500 in the fall of 2015 to fewer than 6,700 this spring. Enrollment numbers usually drop a bit each spring due to December graduations.

Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, told the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier (http://bit.ly/2pNRokQ ) the university is facing statewide economic and political issues that have resulted in Illinois being the second biggest exporter of students among the 50 states.

"You are dealing with an increasingly competitive environment when it comes to recruiting college-bound students," Norman said.

The university's efforts to be more competitive also include offering new courses to meet student demand. For example, the university plans to expand its criminology minor into a new criminology/criminal justice major this fall.

"It really opens new opportunities for them to continue their education," said Vicki Shaw Woodard, a university spokeswoman. "They are traditionally the courses that fill up the fastest because the students don't have to fit them into their schedule."

Norman said the university holds open houses for incoming, transfer and undecided students to help connect them with their academic and extracurricular interests.

"We have some really specialized events designed for those students so they can learn more about those academic interests here," Norman said. "It is that personal connection we are really trying to drive home."

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