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Archive for May 29th, 2012

Ill. cigarette tax passes, pension plan surfaces

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois smokers would pay an additional $1 a pack under a plan approved Tuesday by Illinois lawmakers looking for new money to pump into the state’s wobbly Medicaid system,

The tax increase was sent to the governor’s desk, where about $1.6 billion in spending cuts for the health program already await approval. Gov. Pat Quinn said Medicaid has been saved “from the brink of collapse.”

Lawmakers also took a small step on another big issue when House Democrats released their plan to rein in state pension costs. It would reduce pension benefits for government retirees and gradually require schools to take over retirement costs for their employees.

The pension plan passed in a House committee but was not called for a vote by the full chamber.

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Body recovered at Lake Thunderbird

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

Police officers and investigators were at Lake Thunderbird in Putnam County Tuesday.  Conservation Police officer Sgt. Robert Fraizer says a body was recovered but referred other questions to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department hasn’t yet said what happened and who was involved.  When they do, you’ll hear it on AM 1220 WLPO.

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La Salle boy competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

The Scripps National Spelling Bee begins  Wednesday in Washington D.C.  One of the spellers is La Salle Lincoln Junior High’s Grant Innis.  The 13-year old won the state spelling bee in Peoria earning a trip to the national competition. He just graduated from eighth grade and is one of 18 students competing from Illinois.

Staff at Lincoln will be watching.  Principal Brian DeBernardi says they’ll be able to following along online through ESPN3.

DeBernardi says Innis being able to travel to D.C. with his father is a great learning opportunity.  He also says it’s positive that Lincoln has had two students compete at the competition in 10 years.  Kiley Rosnes went to D.C. in 2005.

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More Cellphone Restrictions Possible While Driving In Illinois

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The flashing lights of a parked ambulance or other emergency vehicle may soon be a sign for
you to hang up the phone.

The limited cellphone ban goes to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. It passed in the House on Monday by 84-30. The legislation would make it illegal for drivers to make calls with a hand-held phone within 500 feet of an accident scene where emergency vehicles have flashing lights, except for reporting emergencies. It also bans sending picture and video messages while driving at any time.

Supporters say it would reduce the risk of careless drivers hitting accident victims or emergency personnel.  Opponents call the ban overregulation by the state.

State Senator Sue Rezin and State Representative Frank Mautino voted for the ban while Senator Darrin LaHood and Representative Pam Roth voted no.

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Gold Star Military Family Continues Trek To Marseilles

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

If the recent heat had you worn down, imagine walking 18 miles a day in it.  Parents of a fallen soldier are walking that much to get to Marseilles.

Michelle and Dan Benavidez left from Colorado Springs April 13th on their way to the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial tribute on June 16th.  The couple finished their 45th day of walking yesterday in Stuart, Iowa, just west of Des Moines.  Michelle Benavidez blogged “the gravel is killer on your feet and the dust from the road gets into your eyes, mouth, clothes, and hair”.  “It’s really nothing but hills, cows and corn”.

The Benavidez’s son Army Sgt. Kenneth Mayne was killed by an explosive in 2008 during his second tour of duty in Iraq.

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Mautino Bill Would Raise Handful Of Fees For State Parks

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

The bill that State Representative Frank Mautino is pushing to fund state parks would raise more than just the cost of license plates by two dollars.

The proposal would also: charge an application fee to cities and counties applying for DNR grants; charge an Illinois State Museum fee; create fees to use public beaches and bike and equestrian trails; increase out-of-state fishing fees; and increase registration fees for motorized watercraft.  In total, the bill would raise about 32 million dollars more in revenue for the DNR.

The bill should be voted on this week by the House.

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