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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Watchdog group says closure of Dwight prison a failure

SPRINGFIELD — The Chicago-based John Howard Association says in a 40-page report Governor Pat Quinn's 2013 closure of Dwight Correctional Center did not improve conditions for the state's female prisoners.

The watchdog group said moving more than 1,000 female inmates into a former all-male facility in Lincoln hasn't lived up to assurances Quinn and his staff offered when the cost-cutting plan was revealed in 2012.

The prison watchdog group based its findings on three visits to Logan Correctional Center, which replaced Dwight as the state's main facility for medium- and maximum-security female inmates.

Quinn announced the closure of Dwight as part of a statewide money-saving plan. He said it would cost too much to upgrade the aging facility and that its closure would save $31.3 million.

But the Chicago-based organization found there are 1,985 inmates residing in a facility built to house 1,106.

State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said the report validates concerns raised by opponents of the closure.
"It is obvious the Department of Corrections lacks a long-term plan for facilities. I believe the closure of Dwight was a political decision," said Barickman, whose 53rd District includes Dwight. "It's frustrating to see."

The association suggests the General Assembly and governor provide IDOC with the money needed to repair and upgrade the facility and to hire adequate numbers of employees.

{Bloomington Pantagraph}

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Livingston County crash kills Pontiac teen

An autopsy was ordered to look into the weekend death of a Pontiac girl who died in a single-vehicle crash. The Livingston County Coroner's office and police continue to investigate the Friday death of 17-year-old Kimberly Blair.

Miss Blair was driving north of Fairbury near County Roads 2150 East and 1125 North when the accident occurred. The Coroner's office reports she was thrown from the car during the crash that happened at 3:13 pm.

South East Livingston County Ambulance Services, the Fairbury Fire Department and the Fairbury Police Department responded to the scene. The Livingston County Sheriff's Department is investigating.


94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Gibson Area Hospital reports baby boom

                    Excitement for new OB unit

GIBSON CITY — Just opened on November 24th, a lot of smiles surfaced in a hurry in the new OB unit at Gibson Area Hospital.

Three new babies arrived after months of waiting for the hospital's move into the new DeWall Maternity Unit. Hospital administrators and staff have waited to open the new addition, under construction as part of a major renovation since 2012.

Charlie Kate was the first-born in the new unit. The daughter of Brooke and Gordon Allen of Hoopeston actually started the labor process in the hospital's old OB unit.

Kristen Fredericks and Andrew LaMarr, of Piper City, also became new parents in the DeWall Unit. Their son, Layten Victor, was the second born that same day.

The honors for the third baby born were bestowed on Samantha Merrill and Ryan Mashburn of Fairbury. The Bloomington Pantagraph reports 'Baby Piper' is their second child.

Not to be forgotten however, is the last baby born in the old unit at Gibson Hospital. 'Baby boy Beau Fields' was delivered by hospital employee Rikee Fields and husband Casey. The Gibson City couple said they are not disappointed in their experience in the old unit because they were among friends and fellow co-workers who made bringing Beau into the world a special occasion.

Mom Rikee said, "We were excited at the potential to be the first birth in the new unit. But in the end, Gibson's OB is so remarkable it didn't matter—it was still a great experience. It is exciting to be part of history at this hospital that's growing and doing big things."

The Fields Family and the Allen Family were celebrated as parents of the "Last and First" babies. They received gift baskets a year's supply of diapers.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Catalytic converters target of thefts

It's happening again. Catalytic converters are being stolen often. And Kankakee County Sheriff's Police report most of the reported thefts are occurring in the Momence and St. Anne areas. The Sun River Terrace neighborhood is also a popular area.

Police say Chevy Cavaliers are the popular hit.

Sheriff department spokesman Ken McCabe says people need to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to suspicious activity.

McCabe said guys working on a vehicle, making noise with power tools and hanging around casing out a vehicle is a sure sign 'someone's up to no good.'

Those noticing such activity should get a description, license plate number and notify police.

The converters in question contain gold, platinum, rodium, and palladium. That is turned into a cash refund.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Vermilion wind ordinance meeting lacks quorum - again

A majority of Vermilion County board members failed to show up Thursday for a meeting of an ad hoc committee considering changes to the county's wind-farm ordinance.

The lack of participation is frustrating the public members of the committee.

Fourteen board members voted this summer to form an ad hoc committee to consider changes, due to concerns of the current ordinance. Those 14 were then assigned to the panel along with members of the public.

The committee has met five times since then but has failed to have a quorum for three of its meetings, including Thursday, when its work was supposed to be finalized.

Five of the 14 board members were there Thursday along with several members of the public. Despite numbers, the group moved forward with presenting specific proposals for ordinance changes.

The committee plans a final meeting in January before taking recommendations back to the county board.


94.1 WGFA