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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Critics Say Dwight Prison Closure Pegs $54 Million Dollar Loss

DWIGHT — Closure of Dwight Correctional Center would take $53.7 million, or about 5 percent, from the regional economy, critics of the closure plan said Wednesday.

“We can’t absorb that the way big metro areas can,” said Larry Vaupel of the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council. He was among officials from Dwight and the unions representing workers at Dwight Correctional Center who called a news conference Wednesday before the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability hearing on the closure plan at Dwight Township High School.

The commission took testimony on the closure proposal, but it is not expected to make a recommendation to Gov. Pat Quinn until late this month or early May. Illinois Department of Corrections Officials argue closing the 961-inmate prison would save the state almost $37 million per year.

 

  • Parent Category: News

AP Source: Johnson to drop out of Congress race

By DAVID MERCER
Associated Press

 

http://analytics.apnewsregistry.com/analytics/v2/image.svc/AP/RWS/hosted.ap.org/MAI/il0201-2012-04-04T2054Z/E/prod/AT/A

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- A Republican Party official says veteran Congressman Tim Johnson intends to drop his bid for a seventh term and retire.

The official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 65-year-old Johnson is expected to make an official announcement on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been officially announced.

The reason for Johnson's decision is not clear. He was considered a strong candidate for re-election in November.

Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2000 and usually ran for re-election unopposed.

The Urbana Republican has sometimes taken positions at odds with most members of his party in Congress. He called last year for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and last month endorsed Ron Paul for president.

 

  • Parent Category: News

Sources Say U-S Rep. Tim Johnson is Retiring

CHAMPAIGN — Veteran Illinois U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson intends to drop his bid for a seventh term and retire, a Republican official said Wednesday.

Johnson was expected to make a public announcement of his decision on Thursday, said a Republican official who spoke directly with Johnson but would confirm the decision only on condition of anonymity in order not to pre-empt the congressman’s formal announcement.

The reason for the 65-year-old Johnson’s decision was not clear, but the official said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Johnson is just two weeks removed from a primary victory over two candidates in the new 13th Congressional District, and he was considered a strong candidate for re-election in November.

Read more: Sources Say U-S Rep. Tim Johnson is Retiring

  • Parent Category: News

Dwight Hopes for Large Crowd for COGFA Prison Hearing

Today’s the day opponents of the proposed closing of the Dwight Women’s Correctional Center get a chance to voice their say to state officials.

And Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey and others hope that crowd is a big one. Some project 1,000 people may attend today’s public hearing where opponents of the proposed Dwight Correctional Center closing will testify on its financial impact.

The hearing, before the Commission of Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), is set for 4 pm at the Dwight Township High School.

In an attempt to save Dwight's second largest employer, state lawmakers, Dwight village officials and community members, along with the union that represents prison employees, are expected to attend the hearing.

The COGFA commission is a group of 12 Illinois lawmakers that monitor the state's debt.

It will hear official testimony on how the closure would impact businesses, health care services and the housing market in central Illinois. The commission then will prepare a report on how the closure would impact the local economy and send its recommendation to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Mayor Wilkey has said the impact is obvious.  He told WGFA News closing the prison “ would devastate the village of Dwight and many of the communities around us, including Streator, Pontiac and Kankakee, where employees reside." Wilkey said Dwight’s loss would affect several counties, including Iroquois, Ford, LaSalle and Will.

Quinn has proposed the closure by August to trim an estimated $48 million from the state's budget. That savings would come at the cost of 460 jobs, according to the release, though other figures have pointed to 359 jobs. Dwight is Illinois' only maximum security women's prison.

Area lawmakers, Senator Shane Cultra and Rep. Jason Barickman, have vowed to stay involved as long as the fight continues.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson and Rep Lisa Dugan have also heard from citizens about the concerns of losing the economic benefits the prison provides.


94.1 FM, WGFA

 

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois Management Committee Moves Forward on Phone System Upgrade

It’s labeled a $70,000 cost, but could lead to a savings of $1,300 a month.  Iroquois County appears to be geared for a county-wide telephone system upgrade.

The County Board’s Management committee (Tues) OK’d Ruder Communication Technologies to work up specs for a project that’ll call for re-wiring and equipment.  Consolidating equipment data is expected to eliminate an archaic phone system that’s led to mis-labeled phone lines and billing problems.

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett has identified mislabeled connections have resulted in about $19,000 in overbilling. 

The phone upgrade would provide for a single county phone bill instead of individual department vouchers.  An inter-office system would also link courthouse, administrative center office and other county offices in separate buildings.

Specs for the work may be ready by mid-April.  Bids would be due April 30th.

 

94.1 FM, WGFA