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CHICAGO - The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday that Justice Rita B. Garman will be its next Chief Justice, continuing her remarkable and unprecedented journey to the top of the state's judiciary.

Justice Garman was chosen unanimously by her fellow justices to succeed Chief Justice Thomas L. Kil-bride, who will leave a notable legacy of achievement when his term as Chief concludes October 25. Jus-tice Garman will become the 119th Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court when she assumes the po-sition beginning a three-year term on October 26.
She will become the second woman in Illinois to be Chief Justice and the second woman to head one of the three branches of government in Illinois. Her selection as Chief Justice on the seven-member Court culminates her long service to the people of Illinois. There are more than 950 judges in Illinois, and Jus-tice Garman has served in the judiciary longer than all of them--except one.

She first wore the judicial robe in 1974 as an associate judge in Danville in the 5th Judicial Circuit, and will mark her 40th anniversary as an Illinois judge next January 7.

"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as Chief Justice," Justice Garman said. "This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends. I welcome the challenges and the responsibility that go with the role of Chief Justice because I know that I can count on the support of my colleagues at all levels of the judiciary and the members of the Illinois bar."

Justice Garman has served on the Supreme Court since February 1, 2001, about two months after Chief Justice Kilbride and former Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas were sworn in as justices following their election.

"I have served with Rita Garman for nearly my entire tenure on the Illinois Supreme Court," said Justice Kilbride. "We have not only worked together as colleagues, but she has become a dear friend. She has an extraordinary combination of intellect, temperament, and experience that will serve well our Court, our judiciary and our state.

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  • Parent Category: News

Chemical smolders at Piper City soybean plant, school dismissed as a precaution

PIPER CITY, Ill. -- Officials say a chemical emitted a toxic gas at a Ford County soybean facility this (Thurs) morning. The unidentified chemical was smoldering after a water-reactive agent used to fumigate soybeans likely got wet during overnight storms.

Patti Thompson is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Emergency Management. She reports Precision Soya officials in Piper City alerted the state this morning about the incident. The village of about 820 people took precautions, evacuating homes on the south side. The Tri-Point School District also dismissed students for the day and rerouted buses for the students return home.

Thompson says a two-block area around the plant has been evacuated and a hazardous material team from Champaign is heading to the scene. A nearby school district in Kempton canceled all classes for the day. The district's junior high school is across the street from the plant.

Ford County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Dennis Higgins said a pellot-product, used for poison control to control varmints, got wet from overnight rains. The moisture triggered a gas being emitted.
Illinois Route 24 was also shut down from either direction leading to Piper City.

Precision Soya is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company operates 11 other similar facilities. The agricultural firm serves the seed industry.

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  • Parent Category: News

Chemical Fire forces school dismissal in Piper City

• Emergency Evacuation

School officials in Piper City are notifying parents of an immediate emergency school dismissal this (Thurs) morning.

A chemical fire at Precision Soya, about a block from the Piper City School, prompted the emergency dismissal. School officials report the emergency dismissal of students finds all bus routes running regular routes. Those parents unable to have someone home needs to contact the school to make other arrangements.

Piper City Fire and neighboring departments have answered the call to the structure fire at Precision Soya at 604 S. Green in Piper City. School officials were notified of the need to evacuate and dismiss student s about 7:15 am.

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Kankakee County Board welcomes 2 new members

Two vacancies were filled on the Kankakee County Board Tuesday.

The Herscher – Otto Township area of District 11 will be represented by Carol Weber. District 22 has a new representative in Steven Einfeldt. The district includes East Bradley. Both appointees were approved by the County Board.

Weber fills a seat that was occupied by Todd Arseneau. Einfeldt replaces Chad Miller.

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  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County OK’s Wind Farm changes

The Iroquois County Board Tuesday approved changes in how wind farms are regulated. The changes, basically, affect those landowners not considered 'participants.'

Non-participating properties now have a setback rule 12 times the rotor diameter, that's an increase from what was 1500 feet. Any future wind farm developers must now also prove shadow-flicker will not affect a home within a mile of the turbine.

Developers must also have more liability insurance.

The ordinance change came from recommendations from the County Board's Planning & Zoning committee.

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