Ballistics testing set for Andrew Condon murder case
A defense expert will render ballistics testing on a bullet fragment in the Andrew Condon murder case in Iroquois County. That test may lead to a trial date for Condon, who's jailed and charged with murder for last year's shooting death of gas station attendant Jonathan Rubin.
Judge Gordon Lustfeldt (Thurs) set an August 6th court date to get a status check on the ballistic test and schedule a trial date for Condon.
Condon faces two-counts of 2nd-degree murder for the October 27, 2012 shooting death of Rubin at the Gilman Shell Station, just off Route 24.
It was a search warrant last November 1 at Condon's Ashkum residence that led to his arrest for the shooting death of Rubin. Investigators recovered ballistics evidence at a shooting grounds at the rural Ashkum site. Police and prosecutors say the ballistics match those involved in the gas station shooting.
MELVIN — This year's Ford County Fair, running June 23-29 at the fairgrounds in Melvin, may look different than in the past. The fair has added numerous new events to its schedule, while keeping some old favorites, as well.
"We try each year to plan a fair that will interest the entire family," said Kirk Miller, fair board president. "The fair board and volunteers have tried to change things up a bit this year and hope they've added some excitement to this year's fair."
The biggest addition to this year's fair is the Tuesday night concert featuring Nashville recording artist Dustin Lynch. Lynch's hits "Cowboys and Angels" and "She Cranks My Tractor" topped the country charts earlier this year. Lynch goes on tour with Keith Urban in mid-July.
"We were fortunate to be able to book Dustin Lynch for the fair this year," added Scott Harden, fair board member. "Having Brushfire as the opening act brings two outstanding country artists to the area. We hope this is just the beginning of several years of country concerts at the fair."
The concert will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 25. Tickets for the concert, with opening act Brushfire, can be purchased at the gate. On the day of the concert, no one will be able to enter the fairgrounds after 3 p.m. without a concert ticket.
Also new to this year's fair is the C-Bar Rodeo, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, June 28. The rodeo not only features bull riding and barrel racing, but also a competition for area youngsters.
"We've added a mutton busting competition to the rodeo," explained Roger Wycoff, fair board member and rodeo committee chairman. "The competition is open to area youngsters who want to try their hand at being in a rodeo. The only difference is instead of riding a bull, they'll be riding sheep. You don't want to wait to sign up though as we will only be able to take the first 20 youngsters who enter."
The Miss Ford County Pageant begins at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, in the dance building. Contestants are Kirsten Batte of Paxton, Elise Chriss of Gibson City and Alexandra Percy of Gibson City. Mistress of ceremonies will be Nicole Kirkpatrick, with broadcasting by WGCY-Radio in Gibson City.
The Little Mister and Miss Pageant will also be held, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, in the dance building. The registration deadline was June 17.
The annual talent show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26. Entries were due June 14. Registration will be from 6 to 6:30 p.m. June 26.
There will be two age divisions. The winner of each division will represent Ford County in Springfield at the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Convention in January, 2014. The Ford County Fair will pay the $75 entry fee to sponsor the winners of this competition. There will be a kids' dance immediately after the talent show until 11:30 p.m.
Barickman Says Legislature Can’t Put Off Pension Reform Any Longer
SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) criticized Democrat leaders in Springfield following a special session Wednesday for continuing to delay action on meaningful public pension reform.
Members of the House and Senate voted during the special session to send two competing pension reform proposals to a conference committee made up of five senators and five representatives.
Barickman says Democrat leaders like Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton have had months to resolve the issue. But, instead, they have failed to show leadership and have left taxpayers on the hook as the pension debt grows by $17 million a day.
The state's unfunded pension liability is already estimated to be nearly $100 billion. Just since the legislature adjourned on May 31, the pension debt has grown by over $300 million that, eventually, taxpayers will be forced to cover.
Barickman says taxpayers were also on the hook for about $40,000 to bring the legislature back to Springfield for one day simply to form the conference committee.
"I continually shake my head at each failure after failure by the leaders on pension reform," said Barickman. "The people of Illinois deserve better. And it's not fair to retirees, active workers, or taxpayers to put this problem off any longer."
Barickman says he is specifically disappointed in Governor Quinn during recent pension negotiations.
"All the Governor has done is say that he'll sign whatever bill the legislature passes," said Barickman. "He needs to stop leading from behind, get his hands dirty, and engage himself in the process."
Barickman says he's hopeful the conference committee will finish its work quickly so meaningful pension reform may be enacted as soon as possible.
IEPA seeks court order against Hoopeston Company following fire
HOOPESTON — Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett asked the Illinois attorney general's office on Wednesday to seek an immediate court order halting operations at J&R Used Tire Service, 103 E. Maple St., Hoopeston, following the large fire that started there Wednesday morning.
According to a written release, the IEPA is concerned about the effects the smoke may have on the environment and human health. The agency is also concerned about water used to fight the fire running off and contaminating neighboring properties and sewage or storm water systems.
The release said an inspection of the tire service by the IEPA on Feb. 6 resulted in multiple allegations of permit violations.
Among the violations were underestimating the amount of materials present at the site and not providing an emergency contingency response plan to local fire and police departments.
IEPA spokesman Andrew Mason said the agency issued a formal violation notice to the company in late March and had not received a response from the owners of the facility.
According to the release, the court injunction would force the owners to stop any activities on site, including the continued storage of used or waste tires; to access damage caused by the fire; to hire an environmental consultant to investigate the site and to remove and properly dispose of any remaining waste.