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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

‘Not guilty’ plea in fatal Iroquois County crash case

Eighteen-year-old Dakota Papineau of Bourbonnais entered a 'not guilty' plea Wednesday to charges of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving. The former Watseka teen appeared for his arraignment in Iroquois Circuit Court.

The charges stem from a fatal crash in July, west of Watseka at a rural intersection. Papineau allegedly ran a stop sign killing 59-year-old David Senesac of Watseka. Senesac's six-year-old grandson was left with serious injuries.

A grand jury indicted Papineau on the traffic charges. An earlier charge of DUI, brought by Iroquois County Sheriff's Police, didn't stick when toxicology tests showed there was no alcohol or other substances in his system.

Prosecutors have said he was driving above the speed limit when he struck Senesac's car on the intersection of 1600E and 1900N roads near Crescent City.

If convicted, the aggravated charges carry a maximum penalty of up to five and three years in prison. A judge could also impose a sentence of just 30 months probation.


94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Copas calls it “overwhelming evidence of official misconduct,” A-G ruled ‘not so’

State's Attorney: poor management doesn't mean it's criminal

Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas has been calling for legal action against former public health department employees for quite some time. And at Wednesday's County Board meeting, the Chairman urged State's Attorney Jim Devine to prosecute the employees that he says,"robbed taxpayers using public assets for private gain."

Copas used findings in a forensic audit of three former health department computers alleging management-level employees spent less than 30% of their work time on county business.

The audit findings show company computers were used for personal business, including paying personal bills, online shopping, and even looking at pornography.

Copas made his directed comments before the board prior to introducing Andrew Garrett of Garrett Discovery, a company that conducted a forensic audit of three former Ford-Iroquois Health Department employees computers. Garrett said it was Copas who directed the company to conduct the forensic audit.

Copas is still insisting S-A Devine needs to pursue official misconduct charges against the former employees. Copas expressed his disgust at the lack of prosecution for what he calls 'blatant criminal acts that have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.'

Devine says, and the Illinois Attorney General affirms, 'poorly run business doesn't mean it's criminal.' Questions also arise as to why all health department or all county competers aren't part of this 'Copas witch-hunt ?'

The accusations against the chosen-few is now opening doors, by non-Copas supporters, asking why the agenda is limited to those Copas wants to select ?  Copas' county board supporters have offered no answers either.

The now-dissolved F-I Health Department left former health department employees and board members wearing a lot of mud from the accusations. There's current health department employees, observers point out, that should be part of the forensic audit as well.

A 2008 flood grant not only benefited several community flood victims, health department employees (past and present) also walked off with monetary gains that have never been disclosed. (The findings were posted on a watchdog website, but were never part of the Copas agenda, according to observers).

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Computer snafu disrupts Illinois motor vehicle sites

CHICAGO — Illinois' 138 motor vehicle facilities were affected by a computer outage today. The entire state was messed. Repair crews were on job looking for a solution.

Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the outage began this (Wednesday) morning and some facilities were coming back online slowly. But Druker recommends people postpone visits if they can.

Technicians from IBM were working with technology staff at the agency to resolve the problem. There was no official word on the cause.

Some customers were being sent home with courtesy cards allowing them to return another time without having to wait in line.


94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Railroad traffic increasing speed thru Gilman

Motorists in Gilman should be aware train speed will increase along the Canadian National Railroad (CN) line.

The CN Railroad recently completed an upgrade at the intersection with the T.P. & W. line, running north-south thru Gilman. A new crossing is in place. Officials report with the improved crossing grade, train speeds will be increased from 30 to 40 mph for freight traffic. Amtrak trains will increase in speed from 50 to 60 mph.

The CN Railroad officials want to alert motorists, especially those at the 2nd, 3rd and 6th Street crossings in Gilman.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Lincoln Mall at Matteson to close

(Matteson, IL) -- It was once a popular shopping destination for a lot of people in east-central Illinois. Holiday basketball fans spent a lot of time there; next door to high school tournaments. But the once booming mall in Matteson is being shut down by a judge's order.

The Lincoln Mall, right off of I-57, is essentially a ghost town. Many of the stores have left the mall and the structure is deteriorating. It will shut down for good on January 7th. Village officials say that could leave a devastating blow on the local economy and put hundreds of people out of work. They're hoping to find stand-alone retail spaces in the area so the stores that are still operating can move, but stay open.

94.1 WGFA